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A Case of Memories

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I sat in the car with sweaty hands while I looked at his house. It was big but not too big and it didn’t appear as if a former lead singer would live here. Brendon was now living in Los Angeles and I knew that I hated this city. Why exactly was I doing this?
I quickly looked into the inside mirror of my car. In my opinion I hadn’t changed that much but I was pretty sure that he would see a difference. He always did somehow.
I had to do this. I know that I had to do this but still it was so difficult. Maybe about two years ago I would have just gone into his house and we would have had a great time but now that wasn’t possible anymore. Too many things had happened. One last look into the mirror, one deep breath and then I opened the car door.
With a loud sound the door fell back to its place and I took little steps in the house’s direction. It wasn’t a big house but neither it was small. You could probably say that it had the perfect size considering the fact that there were two people living inside.
While I put on my biggest fake smile I knocked on the door. There was also a bell with his name on the one side and her name on the other side but I guess there was this small hope inside of me which made me think that if I didn’t actuate the bell maybe the people inside wouldn’t hear me.
Unfortunately I could hear steps a few seconds later. Now it was too late to leave. Bloody Mikey. It was just crazy that after all these years my best friend still had such a big influence on my actions. He was the only reason I stood here today. He was the only reason why I was going to see the love of my life again after years.
I tried to focus because after these years he wouldn’t feel the same anymore. The moment arrived. Someone opened the door and while I expected Brendon I was actually quite surprised when a young woman appeared in the doorframe. A young woman I was pretty sure I had seen before.
“Hey. I guess you must be Ryan Ross?” she asked even though we both knew that she knew exactly who I was. “Brendon has told me so much stuff about you. You two were really close years before, right?” I figured that this woman had to be his girlfriend. So he had carried on with his life. Great. Because I hadn’t and I wasn’t sure if I would ever be able to.
I remembered to keep my fake smile and started to answer. “You could say that I guess. But things have changed for both of us and that’s OK.” I didn’t knew what exactly this woman knew about our previous relationship so I was afraid to say too much. But I knew one thing for sure. Nothing was OK and I doubted that it would ever be again.
I heard footsteps and then I saw him. He looked so different compared to the last time I saw him. Brendon’s hair was now back-combed which revealed his large forehead. Also he didn’t wear eyeliner anymore and his look had completely changed. But I guess I had too. I could feel how the love of my life examined me too and probably came to the same conclusion as me.
“Hello Ryan. It’s been a long time.” Brendon said with a calm voice. A calmness I couldn’t understand because I was about to explode. “Indeed. When was the last time we saw each other?” I repeated as if I didn’t know the answer to that question. But Brendon shouldn’t have known that I was secretly counting the days since my life had ended because now I was just a shell and not alive anymore.
“It’s been in the summer of ’66 I guess. If I’m not completely wrong I would say that it was a few days before the accident happened.” My counterpart answered. That was the moment when I finally dared to look into his eyes. His brown eyes I had always loved so much.
I used to be able to read in them like in a book but right now he seemed to be the most secretive person ever. “I just noticed that I haven’t introduced you to my girlfriend, Sarah Orzechowski. You may have seen here before because to be honest we were already together once back in ’65, just before our… friendship started.”
Another glance at Sarah assured me that I really had seen her before even though I couldn’t remember when and how. My heart ached. Even though about two years had passed by I still felt like everything happened just yesterday. I couldn’t believe that Brendon could just move on like that and got together with his ex-girlfriend again.
I was about to say something when I could hear the bell. The next person coming hasn’t been afraid to actuate it. But I was a weird person. I was taking a deep breath again. Today the past would haunt me. I was about to see so many people I hadn’t seen in years and I just didn’t know how to feel about that.
Moments later Patrick Stump appeared in the living room looking as innocent as always. I was actually surprised to see him here after what happened. His band was the only one that had become extremely famous while everyone else like me and Brendon had failed.
After Patrick Joe Trohman also entered the room which surprised me even more. I hadn’t thought that he would like to join such a party. Well, it wouldn’t be a big party but more like a tragedy.
“Hey guys. It really has been a long time but thank you for the invitation, Brendon.” Joe raised the word while scanning the room. “Sarah, Ryan, nice see you again. I’m afraid that Pete and Andy won’t be able to make it today but who needs them when you can have Joe Trohman?” He laughed but nobody else did. The mood was clearly tensed.
“Well, whatever. Where the hell is the alcohol? This is supposed to be a real party, isn’t it?” With that being said Brendon started to spread the drinks and gradually other people appeared. I could see many old faces and few people I had never seen before.
After some time I could hear Brendon scream: “Jon, Spencer, great that you two were able to make it today!” Immediately I was stressed. Next to Brendon these two guys had been the closest to me and I could already feel the pain. The pain that everything had turned out as it did.
I could remember the day the four of us had vowed to always stay together no matter what and look what had happened. I downed my whiskey with one gulp and eventually went over to Jon and Spencer. As well as Brendon they had also changed but in the end who hadn’t? Time caught us all, we got older and life left its marks on our bodies.
“Ryan.” was all that Spencer could say and I felt the same way. Spencer had been my best friend since we had been little boys and now we were not able to feel more alienated. Instinctively I decided to hug him. I hugged my former best friend with a passion that unfortunately wasn’t able to erase our past. Eventually I could feel that Spencer returned the hug hesitantly.
Just when I had thought that I had overcome all the big steps today I saw Gerard who made his way through the meanwhile many people. Another ghost of my past, another friend I had lost. I was just so happy that Mikey wasn’t able to make it today because that would have been way too much.
Hesitantly I loosened myself from Spencer’s arms. I didn’t even knew what we were all doing here. To be honest, I had never thought that I would see any of these guys ever again and now I was encircled by all these ghosts of my past because one of them, Mikey, had forced me to come to this stupid party.
I decided to leave said party at least for a few minutes because I definitely needed some fresh air. The garden of this house was amazing, I could still remember this so I decided to go there for some time. Fortunately I couldn’t see anybody there but then it was the coldest winter and who would like to go out then?
I had a look at the pool and unfortunately the memories came into my mind. I thought about times back in the ‘60s where Brendon and I would just have the best time of our lives laying in that pool and thinking the whole world belongs to us. But then so many things had happened and now I realized that we rather belonged to the world but not in a good way.
“It’s hard, isn’t it?” I could hear Gerard’s voice and a few seconds later he was standing next to me. He now had red hair, a very provocative hair color if you asked me. I was just thinking about that his current hair color was probably brighter than my future.
My former friend looked as tired as I felt. I didn’t know exactly what he meant but I nodded. Eventually he got a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and I realized that I really needed to smoke so badly, something I hadn’t done in years.
“Can I have one please?” I asked while Gerard lighted his cigarette and looked at me surprised. “Of course Ryan, but is this really what you want?” he asked concerned which made me kind of angry when I replied. “You don’t know me, Gerard, not anymore. So can you please give me a cigarette or do I have to ask someone else?”
Silently my former friend handed me a cigarette and I lighted it with the lighter. It was a strange feeling to smoke after such a long time but I felt like I could get used to it again. “So what do you mean by saying it’s hard? What exactly is hard?” I asked because I was still curious. Gerard looked at me and I didn’t know if it was just my imagination but I felt like I could see a deep pain in his eyes.
“It’s hard to see the love of your life with someone else. I know that feeling.” He answers after some time and now I looked at him surprised. “You probably don’t know this but Frank and I… we had kind of a thing. No fuck, he was or he still is the love of my life so now that he is together with this Jamia girl I don’t know what to do. It’s just enough to drive one to despair.”
I hadn’t expected that. To be honest, I always had been too focused on Brendon and myself because we had been so happy back then so I hadn’t really noticed something else and now I felt kind of bad because of it.
I didn't say anything anymore but I felt like there was no need to do that because Gerard and I understood each other. We were both broken men who would never be able to live a happy life with the love of their life. Well, that would be a very promising future.
After some time we decided that it was long enough since we had left the party and our absence was probably already noticed. As we got back into the house which I had so many great memories of I could see that Brendon and his girlfriend were about to give a speech. They looked happy. The love of my life was happy with someone else.
“Can we have everyone’s attention please? There’s something Sarah and I would like to tell you!” Brendon started and waited to continue until everyone was calm. Then he proceeded. “It’s so strange to see you all today. I know that everyone of us thought that we would never see each other again after what happened but now we are here and we are alive. Just wanted to say that for once.”
Everyone clapped and I couldn’t help but smile because Brendon always managed to be positive in every situation. “But now we are coming to what we both wanted to tell you. We already told our families and friends but we thought that it would also be a great opportunity to gather everyone. So, how do I say that…” Brendon seemed to be struggling and that was when Sarah shocked everyone.
“I’m pregnant.” were the words coming out of her mouth and I couldn’t believe them first. Just when I replayed them in my head a hundred times the message finally arrived in my brain.
I could see everyone else congratulating the lucky couple while I just wanted to cry. Gerard looked at me in a merciful way but I didn’t want his or anyone’s pity.
While everyone else was celebrating I slowly walked out of the house of memories. I knew one thing for sure: I shouldn’t had come here today.

Chapter Text

“Ryan, you stupid asshole, move your ass here! Can’t you see that there are people waiting to be served?” My boss screamed so loud that probably the whole bar was able to hear it. He probably hadn’t thought about that his screaming would scare potential new customers off but I wasn’t the one who owned this place so I didn’t have to worry about my reputation.
Slightly annoyed I made my way to the counter where two old men were waiting. You could tell by their faces that they heard everything my boss just said. “What do you guys want?” I asked with a fake smile that is kind of stuck on my face. “Two whiskeys please.” One of the guys answered so I opened a new bottle and poured in the drinks.
There weren’t many customers today so I had some time to relax which was very rarely in my busy life. I had four jobs to live even though I would rather say that it was just surviving and not living. One of these jobs was here, at this stupid bar with this stupid boss who always yelled at me but I had no other choice then to silently accept that because I desperately needed all of my jobs.
“Are you ok, Ryan?” Spencer asked who also worked here because we both were losers in life. Spencer was my best friend since we were little and we had always imagined our lives to be like in the movies we had seen. Everything was perfect there, and if it wasn’t first than it always turned out to be at the end.
But life had no happy end, I had to learn that already at the age of fourteen when both of my parents had died in a car crash. Since then I went through several foster homes and most of them were just horrible. Memories came up and I tried to focus on my job again. I tried to focus on my best friend who was now standing next to me with a concerned look on his face.
“Yeah, everything is perfect. I’m just a little bit tired. That’s all.” I tried to reply as honest as possible even though we both knew it was a lie. I didn’t know when I had started to not tell Spencer everything anymore. We used to be able to talk about all the important but now there was just this unknown strangeness between the two of us.
Spencer gave me another look but eventually he turned away because he had probably decided that it was pointless to keep asking me because I wasn’t going to tell him anything else. I decided to put on some music. Fortunately our boss had a great music collection and I decided to put the new Beatles album on which had just been released recently. Help! was supposed to be amazing and even though I hadn’t listened to it yet I could tell.
This was the only good thing about our boss. He was a music junkie and owned so many records and under it many new ones. The first song sounded and I could already tell that I was going to love this album. The Beatles never disappointed me even though everything and everyone else does.
Just when I was about to leave the counter, I heard the doorbell which indicated that a new customer came in. I turned around, again with my usual fake smile on my face, to see a young man standing in front of me. I was actually surprised because normally the target group of this group would be men who were fifty years old or older. This young man standing before me was probably about my age and I instantly wondered what the hell he was doing here.
“Can I have a whiskey please?” he asked with this strangely popular voice even though I couldn’t say how I would know it. I was just wondering why everyone wanted to order whiskey today. Was it such a bad day that everyone had to get drunk?
“Of course.” I answered while pouring in another drink. To be honest, I would have needed a drink too but if I would drink while I still had to work my boss would have killed me. So again I was just able to pour in but not to drink myself.
Moments later I gave the young man his drink while I now had the possibility to examine him exactly. He had hair that fell into his face and he wore glasses. The unusual thing was though that he wore also eyeliner that made his eyes look great. I wasn’t sure if I would have dared to go out like that but he had my respect for his self-awareness.
The young man drank his whiskey and within seconds claimed another which I also poured in. After some time the two older men left and the man in front of me had like the whole bottle whiskey in his body. Even though it was obvious that he clearly had one too many he arrogated even more.
Even though I didn’t like to be this kind of barkeeper who sends their customers away I knew that I had to do this here. This man was just too drunk to act normally. I called the cab service sighing while the young man almost wasn’t able to sit on the bar chair anymore.
I caught myself wondering what he possibly could be going through to get so drunk. Sadly I remembered times where my father got so wasted that he would do ugly things he possibly wasn’t even able to remember afterwards.
After what felt like an eternity the cab arrived and with Spencer’s help we transported the young man to the backseat while the driver looked at him with disgust. The stranger was almost asleep now and maybe wouldn’t even remember anything that happened today.
Silently Spencer and I watched the cab driving down the street and around the next corner and moments later this strangely familiar man was gone. “What was it about him?” my best friend asked while we were heading back inside. “I honestly have no idea.” I repeated and for once it was nothing but the truth.
Spencer nodded and we started cleaning up the bar because our boss was already gone and we had to lock up everything. I guess when you were the owner of a place you could do what you want and let you staff do everything. It annoyed me as hell but as I said, I needed the money and even though we didn’t talk about it I knew that Spencer did too.
About an hour vanished and we finished cleaning everything up. It was now definitely an ungodly hour and I just wanted to sleep. One positive aspect of this job was that I lived just about five minutes away from the bar so I was already dreaming of my cozy bed. Spencer lived on the other side of the city because he recently had moved to his girlfriend Linda and right now I didn’t envy him for the forty-five minutes long train ride he had to conquer.
We dismissed each other and soon enough I finally would be home to fall asleep in my bed. The area I lived in was known for many homeless people, many gangs and ruined buildings. But I wasn’t able to afford more and I kind of was okay with my apartment because at least I was alone there.
I could see that there was a fight probably between two hostile gangs again on the other side of the street. Better stay on this side of the street, motherfucker.
Quickly passing the fight situation I finally reached my home. I lived in a big building along with many other people but to be honest I just realized that I had barely seen any of them before because I was just way too busy working the whole time.
Exhausted and tired I climbed the stairs until I reached the third floor where my apartment was. I was just about to open my door when I realized that there was someone laying on the floor. It was too dark to see anything because the janitor was too lazy to replace the broken light bulbs so I was just able to see a person’s shape in the dark and this shape wasn’t moving.
I quickly made my way to check out the person who was just laying three doors away from my apartment as I realized that I couldn’t see anything. Instinctively I decided to check if the person had some keys with them and fortunately I found some in their trousers’ pocket. Now I could obviously tell that it was a man and it felt kind of strange to scan his trousers with my hands.
I tried to stop thinking about that because the man could be in serious danger and because of that I quickly opened the apartment’s door after I had to try several keys. Using my last strength I heaved the stranger inside his apartment and put on the light.
First my eyes had to accustom themselves because of the change from darkness to light but when they finally did I was shocked. Now leaning on a wall was the young man from the bar whom I ordered a cab. To be honest, I hadn’t considered having a look at his address but I had never thought that he would be my neighbor.
What a fucking coincidence life could be. And what a person I was for not knowing any of my neighbors. I started laughing cheerless while I wanted to go out of the stranger’s apartment.
Just then I realized that my neighbor apparently said something I couldn’t understand first. I decided to move closer to my new acquaintance even though I couldn’t say if he was still asleep and talking in his sleep or if he was half awake.
He spoke so quiet that I was barely able to understand him and just when my ear was almost touching his mouth I could figure out what he said. “My name is Brendon fucking Urie and please don’t threaten me with a good time.” Were the ridiculous words coming out of his mouth.
Just then I finally realized it. Of course I knew who we was! How couldn’t I have recognized him? My neighbor was apparently the lead singer of one of the 60s most famous bands, Social Busters. The big question right now was: Why the hell would such a famous person want to live in such a decayed area!?

Chapter Text

The next day I decided to go to Brendon Urie’s apartment to see how he was doing. I still couldn’t believe that such a famous person was my neighbor and was living in such a shitty area.
I went over to knock on his door and I was strangely nervous. A few seconds later the door was opened and Brendon Urie live and in person appeared. He looked awful which wasn’t such a big surprise considering how much he had drunk yesterday.
“Who the hell are you?” he asked with a clearly confused facial expression. So my greatest feat had become true. He really couldn’t remember what had happened yesterday. “I’m your neighbor and apparently also the waiter who served you yesterday at the bar. You got so drunk and when I came home yesterday I saw you laying outside of your apartment so I decided to search for a key and opened your apartment door.”
It was an awkward situation for both of us. For me because of the thing I had done and for him because he couldn’t remember anything. Brendon sighed while closing his eyes for a quick second. He had a big headache apparently, at least I wouldn’t be surprised if he had.
“Well thanks, I guess. Unfortunately I can’t remember anything but it was really nice of you to bring me into my apartment.” He looked at me as if he tried to figure out if I knew who he was. I didn’t show that I knew that he was one of the most famous people of the 60s because I wanted to keep the mood like that.
“So, what’s your name?” I asked, playing the dumb one. He looked at me actually surprised but also relieved that I assumingly hadn’t recognized him. “Brendon.” He simply answered. It was obvious why he wouldn’t tell me his last name. “I’m Ryan.” I answered while I put out my hand to shake his. It was a strange gesture but I felt like it would be needed.
After we shook each other’s hands there was this strange silence again. “I guess I have to go.” I eventually said just because I didn’t know what else to do. “Of course, see you around, Ryan. It really was a pleasure to meet you.” He replied and I eventually walked back to my own apartment. That may have been the strangest conversation I ever had.
While glancing at the clock I noticed that I was running too late for my job at the car repair shop. I would work there three times a week and it was probably my favorite job of the four I had.
I changed my clothes as fast as possible and took my bike. Unfortunately the shop was a bit further afar then the bar and because I was running late I decided to take the bike.
I grew up in Las Vegas and I loved this city because you could always be so anonymous. You were just one person of thousands of people and nobody would notice you because everyone was going their own way. Nobody really cared for other people than themselves. But I also hated this city. With the years so many new people came to this city and now everything was just too full, too loud, too messy.
Too weird to live, too rare to die.
From afar I could already see Mikey, my coworker and next to Spencer my other best friend. I met Mikey three years ago when we both were at a Rolling Stones concert. It had actually been one of their first ones ever and since then they became so famous. I felt like everyone would be able to make it, everyone but me.
Mikey smiled while I parked my bike in the corner in front of the car repair shop. He was actually six years older than me and I often had the feeling that he would treat me like his little brother, probably because he himself just had an older brother. I had seen Gerard a few times but he was kind of strange, always trapped in his own little world of sketches and drawings. But that was probably normal for an artist.
“Hey Ryan.” Mikey said with a smile on his face. “How are you?” I thought about if I should be honest or not. I was always lying when Spencer asked me that question because honestly I wasn’t okay but everybody had their problems and I always felt like I would annoy other people by telling them mine. And to be honest I didn’t want to tell other people. “I’m okay.” I eventually decided to go with my stock response.
I realized that I was lying to everyone. I was lying to Spencer, I was lying to Mikey, I was even lying to Brendon because he didn’t know that I knew who he was. But most importantly and probably the worst, I was also lying to myself. My whole life was a lie.
Eventually we decided to go to work because the shop already opened a few minutes ago and otherwise our boss would become angry. The day flew by because there weren’t many customers but then it was Monday and my shift lasted just from nine to three so most of the people would come by after work.
“Do you want to go to a bar and drink something?” Mikey asked me after our shift was eventually over. I decided to agree because honestly I had nothing better to do. My life consisted just of the same things over and over again. Sleeping, going to work, going back home and possibly to another job and going sleeping again. This was my boring, pathetic life.
The bar Mikey chose was completely overcrowded which was pretty unusual because it was a normal work day and just 3:30 pm. I guessed there were just too many alcoholics out there. One could assume that alcoholism would be a sensitive topic for me because my father had also been an alcoholic but to be honest I couldn’t care less, I would rather say that sometimes even I showed some signs to be an alcoholic.
We decided to take the only free bar chairs next to each other which were at the very end of the counter. There were three barkeepers as far as I could see, all men which was kind of strange. I was very happy to hear that the music played in this bar was completely consistent with my personal taste and I hoped to have a great time.
“What can I bring you?” one of the barkeepers retrieved me out of my world of thoughts. It was a young man with a fake smile that every barkeeper, every waiter, generally every person interacting with other people was supposed to wear but I didn’t mind it. “Vodka pure please.” I replied without a doubt. Mikey looked at me clearly concerned but I didn’t care. I planned to get extremely drunk today and the best way to do that was to start directly with high percentage alcohol.
Mikey ordered just a beer which almost made me laugh. Did he really think that we would just casually walk into a bar and have some random conversation while just drinking beer? “You know what? I wanted to tell you something. Really, you won’t believe it.” He started and I tried to look curious while I really didn’t want to hear his unbelievable story.
“So I have noticed that Gerard was acting weird lately. I mean, as you know, he is generally a weird person but lately he is just really fucking weird like I really started to worry, you know?” I nodded while chugging my vodka completely and calling for the waiter so I could continue drinking.
“Anyways, yesterday I came to his apartment because we actually wanted to meet each other to go to a bar like we did today. So I knocked on his door and waited a little bit but nobody opened. I mean I knew that he had to be home because we both clearly said that we would meet at 8pm and I would come to his apartment. Then I decided to just go in because the door was open. I mean the door was really open so I thought it wouldn’t be a problem to go in.” Mikey paused and quickly looked at me while I was already chugging my second vodka.
“And now here comes the shock. I searched for my brother in every room and eventually came to the bedroom. Really, I haven’t thought anything there but as I opened the bedroom door I saw the most disgusting thing in my whole life. Gerard was there, yes, but there was also this other guy and they were fucking. I mean can you believe it!? How disgusting is this shit? Who could have thought that my brother is a faggot? My own brother oh my goodness. I mean today everyone could be a dick lover. The pest is spreading.”
Mikey’s facial expression spoke of disgust and shock which was totally understandable. This was indeed an unbelievable story and I silently suffered with my best friend. I had seen Gerard a few times but I always had the impression that he was just an introverted artist and not a freaking faggot.
“Fuck Mikey. What did you do?” I asked because I couldn’t imagine how I would have reacted. “You know what I did? I beat the shit out of him and out of this other guy. Since yesterday I don’t have a fucking brother anymore. He is dead for me. Dead!” Spit flew out of Mikey’s mouth and impinged on my face. He looked at me furiously and like so often I didn’t know what to say.
Eventually I decided to order another vodka because after what Mikey had just told me we would definitely both need some more. No alcohol in the whole world would be able to change anything but it was a beginning.
Because I was drinking so much it was really hard for me to get drunk and I always needed much more alcohol then normal people to welcome the amazing state you always got in when you were drunk. After like four full glasses of vodka and one Long Island Iced Tea Mikey had insisted on ordering – I normally wouldn’t order such stuff because it was too expensive – I finally started to get this amazing feeling of freedom and carelessness.
“Just give us the whole fucking bottle.” I told the barkeeper who looked at me with concern but eventually gave in. I decided to just drink out of the bottle and got more drunk with every slug. I drank and I drank until I finally reached the stadium where I would just laugh about everything anyone said because nothing mattered anymore.
“Let’s get a cab and drive to this bar where you can get anything.” Mikey suggested after some time and I immediately agreed because I would do anything right now. I didn’t care about how much the cab would cost and that I wouldn’t be able to afford it. I didn’t care about that there was this small voice inside of my head that had felt pity for Gerard. I didn’t care that I didn’t care.
We left the bar and I could see that the barkeeper who had served us was relieved. Relieved because everything we could do in our drunken stadium
wouldn’t be his responsibility anymore. The taxi eventually arrived and we got in. The bar Mikey had talked about was just about five minutes away but to be honest we both were too drunk to walk right now.
A long line was visible in front of the club but fortunately Mikey knew some people so we immediately got in. I had never been in this club before because that was where all the extreme stuff would happen. You could get everything you wanted and I was about to get that.
I couldn’t say how but somehow we ended up with this group who were snorting coke and other stuff. I had had coke before, I had tried everything but it was a long time ago so I was curious how it would be.
“Do you know how this works?” one of the guys of the group asked me and I nodded. I snorted the coke and after some minutes I started to feel the effects that were just amazing. The coke combined with the massive amount of alcohol lead to me having so much energy I never had before.
I felt like I could stay awake forever because who needed sleep? I felt like I could do everything and fuck everyone I wanted because I was invincible. I smiled while chugging another drink of whatever. I really didn’t care.
I didn’t notice that Mikey was long gone to fuck some random girl and that also the rest of the group was long gone. I was alone but I had never felt better in my whole life. Just then I realized that some strangers where sitting next to me and they didn’t look pleased. I was in my drunken state so I began to laugh. I laughed because for once I wanted to have fun. I wanted to live a good life and not just survive.
I felt nothing. I felt too much. I heard nothing. I heard too much. It was a constant switch between these two extremes. I just realized that some guy was screaming and that blood was dripping from my face to the ground. Too much blood. Too much pain.
Was I already dead?

Chapter Text

“Fuck Ryan!” I could hear a voice even though I couldn’t say where it was coming from or whom it belonged to. I was in state between consciousness and unconsciousness but slowly coming back to the living people. I woke up just to see Brendon Urie’s face in front of mine. He gave me a concerned look. If someone would have told me that Brendon Urie would look like at me like that one day I wouldn’t have believed that person. But here we were today.
“What the fuck? Where am I? What happened? What day is it? Fuck I have to go to work!” I wanted to stand up but was immediately stopped by one of the most famous persons of the decade. “Stop it Ryan. You won’t go anywhere like that! Lay down and I’m going to tell you what happened.”
Obediently I laid back in the bed as I realized that I was probably in a hospital. What the fuck had happened? “To answer your questions, much has happened. First of all you got so fucking drunk plus you consumed so much coke that you passed out for days. And to top off everything you also got in a fight between two gangs which caused your body even more damage.” I decided to take a look at my body. There were scratches and bruises almost everywhere and I was just happy that I couldn’t remember anything of what Brendon had just told me.
“As I said you passed out for days, to be exact for three days. So it’s Thursday today and the time is” he had a quick look at his watch and started to smile. “It’s exactly nine in the afternoon.” I looked at him with confusion wondering how nine could be in the afternoon. “It’s three pm to be honest but a friend of mine used to say nine in the afternoon and I guess that’s kind of stuck in my head now.
Brendon smiled at me and even though I felt like a piece of shit I couldn’t help but smile back. Just then I realized that even smiling hurt. “Well, I guess I had luck somehow.” I replied because after what he had told me this could’ve ended much worse. “Luck or just me who was saving you. Call it what you want.” Again he confused me with his statement.
“Your friend, Mikey I guess, was long gone and you were alone in that club. Coincidence wanted me to go in there because to be honest I wanted to get wasted just as you but then I saw you there. You were laying on the floor and blood was all over your body. My goodness, first I thought you were dead and to be honest I haven’t recognized you first because they fucked you up so bad but I would’ve helped you either way.
Apparently I was the only one who cared about the person laying on the floor because the other people were just continuing doing their stuff. It was awful. I immediately brought you to the nearest hospital which was here and you were in such a critical condition for the last days. Fuck, I don’t even know you but I was so worried!” Brendon had a concerned look on his face.
“Well I guess we’re even now. First I saved you and now you saved me.” I replied while I tried to smile again even though we both knew that our situations couldn’t be compared to each other. What had happened to me was much worse and if Brendon wouldn’t have been there I maybe could’ve been dead. I just started to realize that and wondered why I wasn’t dead. Maybe it would be easier. Nobody needs me anyway.
I had a look at my savior again and wondered why he would worry about me? We saw each other like two or three times and he didn’t even know that I knew who he really was. I started to wonder again why such a famous person would live in such a shitty area of a town in such a shitty apartment. He had a secret and I caught myself at wondering what it was.
“But really, thank you for saving me.” I tried again now deadly serious. We exchanged another smile and he nodded. “Why isn’t there a big gathering of fans outside?” I asked and realized too late what I just said. Now he knew that I knew who he really was.
Brendon gave me an astonished look and I could almost see how his behavior was now about to change. It was as if he would build up his wall that saved him from fans, reporters and devotees. That was exactly what I didn’t want because now everything would be different. “You knew?” he asked shocked and I was just able to nod like a stupid idiot.
“Fuck. I thought for once someone wouldn’t recognize me. I can’t do this anymore.” He started talking but it felt as if he was rather talking to himself. My voice still wasn’t capable of forming words so I just laid there like the stupid idiot I was.
“Whatever, I have to go.” He eventually said with a completely different tone. It was as if he was a completely different person. Well, maybe he was. Maybe he had two different personalities. Neither of us said another word and he left as fast as he could. There was this small part of me that had wanted to get to know him. Not his fake personality but the real Brendon Urie. It was ridiculous because I had met him just a few days ago and I knew nothing personal about him.
Of course I knew what they would write in the newspapers, what rumors would say and the things he would say in interviews. But I didn’t know the real Brendon Urie, the one who wouldn’t simulate, the one without the mask. It really was ridiculous but that annoyed me as hell.
Since I wasn’t able to move properly I decided to turn on the TV because I had nothing better to do. The news were currently running featuring nobody else but Brendon Urie. Apparently someone thought it would be really funny to constantly annoy me with this guy. I eventually cranked the TV up because I wanted to know what lies they were telling now.
“Brendon Urie, lead singer of Social Busters, apparently has a secret. Anonymous sources saw him in one of Las Vegas’ shabbiest areas where he entered a club called Blue Tigers. This club is known for not fully legal activities such as prostituting and homosexual actions. On the side you can see a picture where Urie is about to go into the club. He wears sunglasses but still it’s pretty obvious that it’s him. What secret does the front man of the famous band Social Busters have? We’re curious.
Next to the sports…”
I turned off the TV because I didn’t want to hear anything anymore. The picture was so blurred that it was hardly visible which person would be on it plus it could have been easily faked. I didn’t want to believe what had just been said. One shouldn’t believe everything that is told in the news because there are so many lies or at least embellishments of the truth. In today’s world nobody was able anymore to say what was really true or not. At least not a normal person.
My face hurt and I was just able to assume that there were probably also many scratches there. Hell, what had I done? I liked alcohol and one could say that I drank too much but it had been a long time since I got as drunk as a few days ago and I wasn’t even able to give a specific reason why I drank so much that I had passed out.
I was so trapped in my own thoughts that I hadn’t realized that Mikey was standing in the doorframe. He looked at me apologetically and came into my room. “I heard that you are finally awake. Oh my goodness, I was so fucking worried and I blamed myself so much because I just left with that chick while you were almost beat to death.”
My best friend and I shared a look and I decided that it wasn’t his fault. Nobody could have foreseen what would happen and even if Mikey would’ve been there he probably wouldn’t have been able to do much because we were both small so they probably would’ve also beaten him up.
“Let’s just forget about that, OK?” I eventually said to fill the silence and my best friend nodded. “Before I forget it, Spencer told me to tell you that he is currently unable to come because he is on a business trip in L.A.” Mikey continued. My other best friend worked in the music industry, to be exact at a record label and it wasn’t unusual that he had to travel somewhere. Because of that I often had to work his shifts at the bar but that meant more money for me.
“The doctor just told me that you need to stay another night, you know, for checking purposes, but you can leave tomorrow. And Ryan, if I were you I would stay tonight because you look pretty bad and what they did to you really isn’t a joke. So please don’t do anything you would normally do and stay the fuck here!” At the end Mikey almost screamed at me but I definitely knew what he meant.
I hated hospitals. Hospitals were the definition of death for me. When I was fourteen my parents had died in a hospital. Well, they had already been dead when the ambulance had arrived there but the doctors still tried everything they could. I could still remember the moment when I sat in the anteroom with Spencer and his parents and one of the doctors came to us to tell me that my parents were gone. I could still remember Spencer’s and his parents’ pitiful faces. That was the only emotion that humans were able to feel when someone died. Pity.
Then, when I was sixteen, the mother of one of my foster families had died of cancer and also in a hospital. They had actually been really nice - I would go so far and say that this family was the only one I had really liked because all the other foster families before and after had been either alcoholics or careless or both – and when the woman had died it had felt like my anchor had died and I could again feel the pain I had felt when my parents had died even though it was of course something different.
Hospitals equaled death for me and the idea to stay here another night was as unappealing as death himself for me. But I knew that it would be the best for me. “I promise you, Mikey, to stay here even though I would prefer to sleep under a bridge.” I said and he started to laugh. “I know George, I know.” Sometimes he would call me by my first name that I hated but right now I didn’t really care.
“Look, I have to go to work. I’m already running late but I definitely wanted to see you first when I heard that you’re awake. I’m really so fucking glad that you’re okay. And before you worry I have called all your bosses and explained the situation and you will start to work next week.” Mikey knew me too well. All I would have in my mind was work but I had to realize that I really wasn’t able to work in this stadium.
“Thanks Mikey.” I eventually said and he leaned down to hug me. “Better don’t hug me. You know, everything hurts.” I quickly said while I tried to laugh which also hurt. I was a fucking cripple.
“Anyways. I’ll probably come back later, OK? Bye.” My best friend said and then he was gone. It was quit, just the beeping of the monitors was audible which by the way was annoying as hell. I thought about what I should do now because it was pretty boring and the possibilities were limited when someone stormed into the room.
Apparently this was an open house here. Just then I realized that it was Brendon Urie again. I began to wonder what the hell he would want from me because before it seemed like he wouldn’t want to see me again. His hair was messy but still in a good way. Combined with his usual eyeliner he looked like a damn fashion model.
“Ryan. I’m sorry about how I reacted earlier. I just realized that that was completely stupid because you were treating me like a normal human being even though you knew who I really was and that is something I craved for in a long time. So thank you for that! Anyways, since we’re neighbors I thought that maybe we could have a cup of coffee sometime?” The words poured out of his mouth and I started to smile.
I couldn’t say yet why I wanted to know this guy but there was something special about him, something beyond his prominence and that fascinated me. “I would really like that.” I eventually said and my smile grew bigger when he returned it.
We were both standing there like stupid idiots but we were happy and that was what counted. This guy made me happy and that was a beginning.

Chapter Text

Because I promised Mickey to stay in the hospital for another night I did as I said but the time just wouldn’t move on and I was extremely bored. Strangely no one came by in the next twenty-four hours so when I finally left the place I would always connect with death I really wanted to see another person.
Strangely though the first person I thought about weren’t Spencer or Mikey – my best friends – it was Brendon whom I saw last. This guy was just stuck in my head but that was definitely just the case because he was so extremely famous and I didn’t know how to act around him.
When I finally arrived at my shabby apartment a tiny part of me was actually glad to be home again. Even though it was a little old and disgusting place it was the only thing I could call a home and just the fact that it was mine was important. I immediately decided to go over and knock at Brendon’s door.
I still couldn’t believe that such a famous person lived in the same decompoused building as me. There must be a reason why this was the case because it was highly improbable that Brendon Urie would lack of money.
The Social Busters were founded in 1958 by high school friends. Because of their individual new style the band was immediately successful and the participants were flooded with fame so to say overnight. The new album would come out in about two months and would be the third one.
The reason why I knew this exactly was that I myself was a really big fan of the band even though the Social Busters would normally be smiled at by guys because they were more of a typical girl band. Unfortunately I was never able to go to one of their concerts because I simply never had enough money for that and I probably never will have.
Of course I already saw some posters in the streets or some spots in the tv that showed the members of the famous band but I never would’ve thought that the lead singer would be my neighbour.
I breathed in and went over to Brendon’s apartment to knock at the door. Just in this second the door opened and the famous lead singer stood in front of me.
“Wow Ryan, you really scared me there. I didn’t know that you’re already back from the hospital?” he said which almost made me laugh. ‘Already’ was definitely not the right word considering that I had to be in the hospital – the place of death – for several days even though I was unconscious on the majority of them.
“I just came back like fifteen minutes ago and I decided that I would visit you. You know when you told me that we could maybe like drink a coffee together or something? Yeah, I actually thought we could do that like now?” I ask but my voice fainted because I was extremely unsure about every word that left my mouth.
Brendon looked at me apologetically. “I’d love to go to a coffee shop with you or do something else but unfortunately I have to go to the studio today because we still have to record some stuff and talk about the upcoming album, you know.” My neighbor and the lead singer of one of the most famous bands of the decade said. “But you know what? You could come with me if you want? I mean if you don’t want to it’s ok but you could…”
“I definitely want to. I’d love to.” I almost screamed a response to Brendon’s offer. The lead singer of the Social Busters just offered me to come to the studio with him. I mean who would say no there!?
Brendon’s smile cut of my words immediately because I felt that it was one of the few times where it was just genuine and pure, that he was just himself right now and that he didn’t put on this mask he apparently always wore when he was in the public light.
It was weird because I had two different persons in my mind when I looked at the person in front of me. First there was the lead singer who always stood in the spotlight of everything and whom everyone adored. But then there also was this random man who came into the bar and was drunk at the end of the evening. This man who could’ve been everyone. Everyone but Brendon Urie.
“Ok let’s go then.” Brendon interrupted my thoughts abruptly and I still couldn’t really believe that this was Brendon Urie I was talking to and that he actually wanted me as his company.
We went downstairs, still so many unanswered questions between us that nobody dared to asked, and instead of a limousine or something that other famous people would drive with Brendon opened the door of a really old shabby car which really surprised me.
I decided not to comment on the situation yet so we silently got in the car and Brendon started the engine. The ride was accompanied by a really uncomfortable silence which nobody dared to break.
After about fifteen minutes we arrived at a decomposed building and I was immediately confused. Where was the studio Brendon talked about? He probably saw my confused glance because a slight smile was visible on his face.
“You expected something else, right? Don’t worry, you’re definitely not the only one. But isn’t this a great cover? This building looks really disgusting and nobody would get the idea that the greatest artists would work here. Never has anyone who wasn’t supposed to found us.” Brendon explained and I realized that this was actually really logical.
We got into the building which was guarded by one massive but still not extremely noticeable man who slightly nodded as Brendon passed by and I was shocked by how different everything looked at the inside. While the outside appeared to be a random old building the inside was really modern and everything was like in a Sci Fi-movie.
Brendon fucking Urie was smiling at me again and we walked to the elevator and passed several people whom where all greeted by my neighbor. Apparently our destination was the fifth floor which was also the highest one. I wondered what we were about to do exactly but I hadn’t much time to think because seconds later the elevator doors opened and we were immediately standing in a living room-like room.
I had no time to prepare myself for any situation because I realized that the rest of the band was standing there and looking at me as if I was some kind of insect.
“Who the hell is that, Brendon” Andy Hurley asked and I was surprised by how his voice sounded because I had actually never heard him talk before. He was examining me as well as Jon Walker and Dallon Weekes.
I saw pictures of them before, I heard them make music because I listened to their albums over and over again but no word was able to describe how I felt in that moment.
Brendon finally broke the awkward silence. “This is Ryan Ross, my neighbor and a great fan I may add.” He said with a smile and I wondered how he was able to that because his band mates definitely didn’t look pleased. But this was probably the thing about being famous. Wearing a mask, playing a role and pretending something something was essential no matter if you actually were an actor or a singer.
“I thought” Dallon eventually started with a scary silent voice “we agreed that we wouldn’t bring fans here. You know why. So what the actual fuck is he doing here!?” I felt like the look he gave me would take me apart.
“Guys, chill your life, ok? Ryan isn’t like a usual fan. We actually have some kind of history, ok? Please let him stay here today!” Brendon said but it was obvious who was in charge here and that nobody would dare to actually say something against Brendon. I thought it was pretty strange that according to Brendon we had a history together even though we barely knew each other since one week.
The guys eventually nodded and I felt weird because now I would even prefer to leave. “Ok then, let’s start.” Brendon said with his usual smile as if nothing had happened. I wondered how he really was like because no person was able to be as happy as he appeared to be. I saw him when he got extremely drunk and I was pretty sure that this positive attitude was just a facade.
The four guys talked about some things but it was pretty obvious that they would conceal many thing and be very careful since I – a fan – was here. But eventually I heard one of the songs of the album which was amazing as expected. For once I felt special because I was one of the few persons who had actually heard it.
Eventually Jon, Andy and Dallon dismissed Brendon and me and we were left alone in the recording room. “Should we play something?” Brendon asked me unexpectedly. “The microphone is still on as well as the amplifier and everything.” My counterpart looked at me, smiling as usual.
“Yeah sure.” I answered while I was already grabbing a guitar because I actually was able to play that. The family of the foster home I was in at the age of sixteen had a daughter two years older than me and she had been really good at playing guitar. One day she had offered to teach and so we had started to play together and I had actually become pretty good.
“Let’s play ‘Time To Dance’, ok?” Brendon offered and I immediately agreed. This was one of my favorite songs of the Social Busters and it was from the first album they had published.
Have some composure
And where is your posture?
Oh, no, no
You're pulling the trigger
Pulling the trigger
All wrong

We finished the song and I actually felt really amazing because I hadn’t played the guitar in years because I couldn’t afford one and there was barely an opportunity. Music had always been my way to escape because it was probably the easiest thing to get. Books where to expensive, as well as a TV and music was always everywhere around us.
“Why don’t your song titles match with the lyrics?” I asked because that was a think I was always curious about. “It’s funny, isn’t it?” Brendon responded even though we both knew that this didn’t exactly answer my question.
“That was really amazing. I’m not kidding, you could be a great musician.” He added after a while and even though he sounded honest I knew that I never could be. I sadly looked at him. “Maybe in another life. In another universe.” I said quietly and looked into his eyes.
“So, you believe in parallel universes?” he said as quietly as I answered before. “I don’t know. I guess. I mean wouldn’t the thought of a parallel universe be really exciting. Imagine that there are versions of us who aren’t as fucked up as we are. Imagine that there are versions of us who haven’t even met each other. And imagine that there are versions of us that may have been best friends their whole life.” The words left my mouth so fast that I wasn’t even able of really thinking about them.
Brendon laughed and again I felt like this may just be the real Brendon. The one without the mask. “Indeed, that would be very pleasant. So what would these best friends do then? Right now, what are they doing?” He continued to play my game.
I smiled. “They would probably just lay in the grass and enjoy the amazing day that today is. And of course, of course they would listen to music.” A look into Brendon’s’ eyes confirmed me that he had the same picture in his mind as I had in this moment.
“And would they maybe… dance?” He eventually whispered and grabbed my hand. Shocked I glanced at my counterpart who apparently really wanted to dance.
“Why do you want to dance?” I laughed. “Do you want to perform a waltz or something?” From one second to another Brendon’s face turned completely serious. “I do. You know, it’s Time To Dance now.”
I laughed again. “You can’t just reference your own songs here. And isn’t it a bit inappropriate? You know, two guys dancing a waltz together at a place like this?” I tried to find an excuse even though I didn’t know why I did. The thought of dancing with Brendon fucking Urie was actually very appealing to me. Too appealing.
“I don’t care. I really don’t care.” Brendon whispered and so we started to dance in the studio and I thought about all the parallel universes we talked about and wondered if there might be at least one where there could’ve been even more between us and where something like this could’ve been appropriate.

Chapter Text

“And then Andy puked on Pete’s shoes whom we didn’t even know back then. Of course Jon, Dallon and I were laughing as idiots but Pete didn’t find it funny back then.” Brendon told me as he took a trip down the memory lane. We were currently sitting in a coffee shop which quickly became our favorite one in the last weeks.
Since I had been in the hospital Brendon and I were almost inseparable and he actually took me to the studio more times but the rest of the band didn’t say anything about that anymore. I had actually heard the whole new album now even though it would just come out in approximately five weeks so I was extremely blessed.
I didn’t dare to say that I actually had no money to go to coffee shops whit Brendon, that I was barely able to survive even though I had four jobs which where all ill-payed to be honest. I just wanted to be with Brendon and if that meant that I had to sacrifice my money that was ok.
I drank the last bit of my black coffee – because that was the only thing I still could afford buying – and realized that Brendon looked at me in a really weird way. The waitress came by and took our mugs. I realized that there were just waitresses working at this place. How sexist. “We would like to have the bill.” Brendon said smiling and it was pretty obvious that he was flirting with this woman who now played with her hair.
Soon after she brought us the bill which I glanced at worriedly. Again that was money which I almost didn’t have. “Do you want to pay together or separately as always?” the woman asked mechanically and just when I wanted to say the latter Brendon chimed in. “Together please.” He said still smiling which really confused me.
My counterpart gave the waitress the money of both of our orders and then added a great tip too. I wondered how it felt to have as much money as Brendon had. So much money that you were able to buy anything and as much as you wanted. Brendon looked at me. “Money isn’t everything.” He eventually said but I didn’t dare to respond. “Shall we go now?” He added and I just nodded.
The coffee shop we always went to was in the same shabby area as our apartment. Even though Brendon was a star he lived in such a place because it was a great cover. Who would think that such a person would live here where whippings and screaming was a daily business.
“Shall we go to the studio then?” Brendon asked as we walked through the streets. This was the nearest place I would be able to call home. It was decomposed, of course, but my apartment, the thing that belonged just to me was here and that was something.
When I had been seventeen I ran away from my former foster family because they were just horrible. After the mother of my best foster family had died back then I had been pretty sure that I would never find such a great foster family again and I had been right.
One evening the father of my last foster family had drank so much that he had no control over what he was doing anymore. He also had a son and a wife but they never had to carry the can for him and I was the only one who had to suffer. This evening back then he beat me up as usual which I already knew but then a knife appeared almost out of nowhere and that was when I knew that I wouldn’t, I couldn’t do this anymore. Anything had to be better than that.
“Ryan. Yes or no?” Brendon took me back into the present time and for a few seconds I had to think about what the question actually had been. “Unfortunately I won’t be able to come to the studio today. You know, I have to go to work because money doesn’t fall from the sky for everyone.” I laughed coldly but just a few seconds later I realized what I just had said.
Brendon looked at me – surprised, hurt, cold – and without another word he left. I knew that it wouldn’t be effective to talk to him right now because if I had learned one thing about Brendon Urie in the last weeks it was that if Brendon was hurt and annoyed than nothing would change that as long as he wasn’t ready for it to change.
Why was I always such a fool and had to say so stupid things? I walked down the street to go the record store where I worked. This was actually the only job I really liked because the drunk people in the bar were just annoying, cars weren’t really my kind of thing and delivering newspapers was also pretty boring.
But music – oh, music – that was definitely my kind of thing. This little store was probably the place where I felt the most comfortable. I entered the tiny store where there was a tiny TV in one corner. The news just reported about the elections in the federal republic of Germany where the people had to decide about the Federal Parliament. My boss who was also probably the only boss I liked greeted me eventually.
The man who was the owner of the shop was in his fifties and was always such a positive person which reminded me of someone else but I didn’t want to think about Brendon right now.
“Hey Randy.” I greeted my boss who was standing behind the counter. The shop was currently empty, it seemed to be a quiet day. “Hey George.” My boss replied. Usually I hated it when people would call me by my first name but I guess that Randy was the only person where this was all right.
“OK, I’ll leave then. You know how to close up and stuff, right?” he continued and I had to laugh because he always asked me this question every time even though I was working here for years now. “Yeah, of course, Randy.” I replied. “Have a great home time.” And suddenly I was alone.
I usually really liked the silence, this feeling that I was alone in a room with so many records but weirdly I didn’t like it in this moment so I decided to play some music. I searched through the records and decided to go for the Social Busters’ second album “Pretty. Odd.”. This one had actually been my favorite one for a really long time but as the time passed by I rather preferred the first album now.
I realized that I hadn’t listened to the second album for a really long time so it was about damn time. The first song started and I let myself enjoy the music because there were no customers. Just when Northern Downpour started to play which was a weirdly emotional song for me somebody came in and as I looked up I realized that it was nobody else but Brendon fucking Urie.
“What the hell, how many jobs do you have, Ryan?” he asked shocked. I realized that he probably just knew about two of my jobs until now. Of course he knew about the bar because that was where we met actually and he knew about the car repair shop but I had never told him about the record store or much less about the fact that I was also a newspaper delivery person.
“Four, actually.” I said quietly, weirdly ashamed because he was such a famous person. Brendon’s shocked face told me everything. “Wow, Ryan, I didn’t know. I mean, why haven’t you told me? How do you even have the time to do something else? How do you have the money to go to the coffee shop?” My counterpart looked at me as if I was someone else.
“I don’t, actually, but I really wanted to meet you so I somehow managed it. And I haven’t told you because I was ashamed, ok? I mean you’re such a famous person, you’re Brendon fucking Urie! You never had the problems I have, you don’t understand!” My voice became louder as I spoke. So that was how the truth came out.
“Oh Ryan, how stupid are you? Do you really think that I have always been this famous, that I have always had enough money? Do you really think that I’m that spoiled? Because I’m not! Once I was in a pretty similar situation you’re currently in. I was just really really lucky, ok? But never ever think that I wouldn’t understand or that I would think less of you. In the contrary, I admire you because it’s probably one of the hardest and most marvelous things in the world to have four jobs!”
Brendon looked at me seriously and I was immediately ashamed but not because of the fact that I had four jobs, no, now I was ashamed because I had had such a bad opinion of him.
“I’m sorry. I’m really sorry.” I replied and as a response Brendon just hugged me. It was a really weird feeling, but not in a bad way. If someone would’ve told me like two months ago that I would be friends with Brendon Urie and that this would be the thing that kept me alive I would’ve laughed at that person like an idiot.
But now it was so normal. I didn’t care about anything and as we were standing there I heard the bell at the door that signalized that another customer came into the store. Reluctantly Brendon and I loosened our hug and I had a look at the person who just came in.
It was a young man that seemed to be about my age but I had never seen him before. He had longer brown hair and looked at me confused. “Is George Ryan Ross III here?” he eventually asked and I wondered how he knew my full name because few people did. Brendon glanced at me because even he didn’t know it.
“Yeah, that’s me.” I eventually said. “What do you want from me?” The man’s eyes showed surprise and I wondered what this all was about.
There was a really awkward silence which seemed to last not seconds but hours. “Is there some place we can talk, you know, privately?” he eventually said, shortly glancing at Brendon who was standing next to me. “I guess you probably want to sit down when you hear this.”
I really wondered what this was all about. “We can talk here. Except Brendon nobody is here and he can hear everything you want to say too.” I answered because this man just gave me the creeps and I didn’t want to be alone with him. They both understood so we sat down in the tiny seating area of the store.
“This may sound extremely crazy right now but there is something your father hasn’t told you before he died.” The stranger started and I wondered how he knew about my father, about apparently everything. “Ok, there is really no easy way to tell you this so I’m just going to say it.”
The man took one last breath and eventually said the words that would change my whole life. “I’m your brother.”

Chapter Text

I didn’t realize what my counterpart just said until like thirty seconds later. Brendon and the guy who claimed to be my brother – which was impossible – were looking at me expectant and I did the probably dumbest thing in the world. I started laughing. Just when nobody else laughed I realized that this might have been not a joke, that this may really be my brother.
“How?” was the only thing that came out of my mouth when I eventually quit laughing. And so this stranger told me everything. Apparently his name was Brent Wilson and he was just my half-brother. His mother explained everything to him before she passed away. My father had had an affair with his mother which started shortly after my birth but didn’t really last long. His mother got pregnant soon after my birth so Brent was a little bit younger than me.
“My mother never forgave your – our – father because he chose your mother. But she had always said that he just stayed there because you were the first one to be born. He didn’t really love your mother but neither did he love my mother. The latter had always claimed that our father had been a loveless, cold arsehole who just couldn’t decide anything.”
Brent finished and looked at me expectant. I didn’t know what to say exactly. I mean what could one say if a stranger comes to their workplace and told them that he was your brother, that you had lived in the same city for more than twenty years but didn’t know about each other.
“I know it’s a lot to process, it was for me too but I just thought you should know…” Brent started but I immediately interrupted him. “Yeah right, thanks for telling.” I said awkwardly. I didin’t know this person but apparently we were one family. We were all that was left of our family.
“Maybe we could like meet sometimes to drink a coffee together or stuff?” I asked because one tiny part of me would’ve loved to have a sibling. Brent smiled at me and in this moment I finally realized what this all meant. First of all, my father hadn’t been the nice man I always thought he had been. Second, I had a brother, I already had a family, so why had I spent years in awful foster homes?
“I’d love that.” Brent finally said and we shared an awkward smile which was interrupted because of the bell that rang and showed us that there was a new customer coming in. This time it was a real customer, not Brendon, not Brent, just some random person.
Just then I realized that Brendon Urie was still standing next to me – without a cover, without sunglasses and directly in a record store – but it was already to late and I heard a screaming fangirl which had recognized him. It was a girl approximately about sixteen years old and her mouth was open like an O. Immediately many other curious people flooded the room and soon the room was full of fangirls and bystanders.
I also realized that my brother had left but that he left a card with his phone number on the counter which I quickly put into the pocket of my coat.
Brendon and I shared a glance. It was obvious that we had to leave this place. “There is a back door. Let’s go, fast.” I whispered as the girl who had screamed before was already standing right before us.
While laughing like idiots Brendon and I ran through the back door and closed it from the outside. Extremely fortunately there was a lock on the outside so I exerted it and we were free. The silence of the backyard immediately appeared but this wouldn’t last for a long time.
“Let’s go or they’ll come soon!” I eventually said and we continued to ran as if we were criminals escaping the police vehicles and helicopters. I lead Brendon to my favorite place of the entire city which wasn’t far away from the record store.
The spot was behind many trees so it was extremely difficult to find but you actually had an amazing view over one part of the city. As we arrived it already started to get dark slowly and I realized that nobody but this screaming teenagers were in the shop and that I actually had to close up. If something broke there Randy would kill me.
But then I just didn’t want to destroy these awesome last minutes. For the first time in a really long time I had actually felt alive, I felt great and I didn’t want this feeling to pass.
Brendon and I glanced at each other and I knew that he felt the same way. “Do you have to do this on a daily basis?” I asked laughing hysterically. “Not really, no. because of my cover people rarely realize who I am but I guess it was just too obvious – me in a record store.”
It was weird because I felt like I already knew this guy in front of me for years even though I actually barely knew him one month now.
We glanced at each other for a really long time and I had always expected something like this to be really awkward but it really wasn’t. “I think I really have to go back to the shop now. I have a really really bad feeling about what had happened there!” I eventually said which was true.
We silently made our way back and my bad feeling was being confirmed. Like half of the shop was empty because this stupid teenagers stole it and it looked like the third world war had taken place here.
“Fuck, fuck, FUCK!” I started screaming. “How stupid am I? Leaving the shop open when these stupid kids were able to do anything they wanted here. I mean for real HOW STUPID CAN ONE BE!?” I collapsed on the floor as the phone started to ring.
Weirdly, they didn’t take the latter so I answered the phone eventually. “Is Brendon there?” a familiar voice asked desperately. “Who is there?” I wanted to know but I already had a suspicion. “It’s Jon. Brendon told me that he would go to this record store today and then I heard about this attack of fans and as I asked some people I figured out that you worked there too and realized that you two would probably be together since you’re inseparable lately and here we are. So is he there!?”
Jon spoke so fast that I had severe problems to understand every word he said but then I told him that Brendon and I were together. “Great, please give him the phone. It’s extremely important!” I did as I was told to do and when Brendon answered the phone I witnessed how his face became paler and paler with every second.
I couldn’t understand what had happened because Brendon’s part of the conversation entailed only words like “Yes.”, “No.” and “Oh my Goodness!”
“We will come immediately.” He said at the end and then put the phone back to the apparatus. There were some awful seconds of silence in which I didn’t know what had happened and I immediately had a flashback to the day where my parents had died in a car crash.
“We have to go.” Was the only thing Brendon said when the call was over. I didn’t ask anything, I just followed him as we got out of the destroyed store. We walked a few steps and eventually Brendon called a taxi and we got in. It was a rainy day which completely fitted my mood. After what had happened in the record store I would definitely lose my job now and I wouldn’t have enough money. And now, something else had happened too.
“McCarran International Airport please.” Brendon quickly told the cab driver and I forbid myself to ask any questions because somehow I knew that Brendon would tell me what had happened soon. And then he did.
“It’s about Dallon. He was in Kansas City for a few days to meet some friends and they basically just had a weekend full of drinking and fun, you know. But then everything went terribly wrong, there were drugs and I guess I don’t have to tell you how quickly this can escalate. Anyways Dallon accidentally took an overdose and now he is in a coma.” Brendon was crying and even though I didn’t know Dallon for such a long time I was close to crying too.
Why did such things always happen? Why where there things like alcohol and drugs that could hurt someone or even end a life so extremely fast.
I didn’t say anything because I honestly was speechless and my words probably wouldn’t have helped. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at the airport but instead of driving to the front entrance where every normal person would go in we drove to the runways for the planes.
In the course of time I started to forget more and more that Brendon Urie was extremely famous and that he would – of course – also own a private jet. It was weird because I had barely seen the famous lead singer in Brendon, I rather saw a normal person that would cry when one of their friends was in a coma.
Sometimes normal people tended to forget that even famous people were just humans and humans had feelings they sometimes couldn’t control. We were all just people and even though we all tried to pretend in the end everybody had feelings.
The taxi driver directly drove next to one plane and I got the impression that maybe he wasn’t such a normal taxi driver. We got out of the vehicle and immediately got into the jet which was waiting for us. There were three stewardesses who were smiling at us as we entered the plane.
The latter was as comfortable as one would imagine a private jet of a famous person. There was a section with cozy looking seats and armchairs but then there also were some beds and a little bar with a great selection of drinks.
On every other day I would’ve enjoyed such a luxury lifestyle but on this exact day I didn’t care. Unenthusiastically I let myself fall into one of the seats and put on the belt because we would immediately raise into the air. One of the stewardesses told us that we would approximately fly like two and a half hours so we definitely had no time to lose considering that we had to cross like half of the US.
“You’re the king of the clouds.” Brendon said as neither of us hadn’t said a word for like half an hour. I didn’t understand what he meant by saying that or how such a thing would matter now. Apparently he saw my confused facial expression because he explained his statement further. “My brother once say that when we were flying. That was actually the only time when my family flew together.” Brendon gazed into the distance as if he was trapped in a memory.
“You seem to have many people around you who tell you many crazy things.” I answered because I didn’t know what else to say. Brendon tried to smile at me but it was obvious that this was almost impossible considering the situation we were currently in.
“Maybe. I guess that’s how I became famous.” I actually didn’t know how my counterpart became famous. It was generally known that Brendon Urie’s origins laid in a normal family and that he wasn’t born into a family full of singers and actors. There were so many things we never talked about and I realized how little I knew about the person sitting next to me.
Maybe the fact that he became one of the most famous persons of the decade so to say overnight made Brendon good at wearing a mask and concealing things he didn’t want other people to know. But I actually thought for some stupid reason that the bond we had was different.
The rest of the flight went off as quiet as the first thirty minutes and after what seemed to be an eternity we finally arrived in Kansas City where the sun shone. Unlike in Las Vegas the weather didn’t fit our mood at all.
Of course another taxi was waiting as we came out of the plane. It was extremely hot for September but maybe that was normal for this area, I didn’t know and I honestly didn’t care.
The journey in the vehicle passed off as quiet as the one in the car and we got to the hospital where Dallon was supposed to lay. Of course we got in through the back entrance again so nobody would recognize Brendon.
One of the security people of the hospital led us to the room where the others were supposedly waiting for news. As we arrived there it was immediately obvious that something else had happened. Something huge and really bad. Why couldn’t just one good thing happen on this fucking day?
Everyone was already there – Jon, Andy, Dallon’s friends I didn’t know, some people I had seen at the studio before and other people I didn’t know. I kind of felt as if I didn’t belong here. I was just some random guy Brendon Urie knew for like a month while all the other people here knew each other for years and somehow belonged to the band.
Andy noticed our arrival first because he came over, eyes lifeless and face pale. “They did everything they could but… Oh my goodness, Brendon… Ryan, he is dead. Dallon is dead!”

Chapter Text

The following month was really blurred for me because I had to process everything that had happened. It wasn’t even that I was mourning extremely because of Dallon because to be honest I didn’t even know him that well but this and all the other things that had happened before was just a little bit too much for me.
First of all, I had a brother, even though it was just a half-brother it was a family and I thought that I had lost every last bit of my family. We had actually met sometimes and Brent was a really nice guy but still it was really weird to see him because we had been apart before for more than twenty years.
Second, the picture I always had of my father had completely changed after what Brent had told me. I had always thought that my dad had been a loving and caring husband because he was both of these things for me – his son. I didn’t understand why my mother had stayed with him when he didn’t even love her. Maybe she had just been too naïve. I was fourteen back then. What had I been supposed to know?
Third, and I think worst of all was the fact that I was now in debt because Brendon had loaned me a ton of money. Because I had been the reason that the record store had been destroyed my boss of course had fired me and understandably he had also asked for money to replace all the stolen things and rebuild the store. I didn’t know how to handle the situation so Brendon had offered to pay the money for me but I was pretty sure that I would never be able to repay him and that made me feel the worst.
I just felt miserable recently and of course the Social Busters did too. Adding to that the latter were also in need of either a bassist or guitarist because Dallon had been the bassist before. Brendon had told me that they just wouldn’t find the right person even though they had already had many castings.
“Hey Ryan. Are you still with us?” Mikey asked me eventually because I definitely had been in my own world for some time. I glanced at Mikey and Spencer – the two people I called my best friends – and wondered if I was still allowed to call them that.
I barely saw either of them and even if I did I wouldn’t tell them anything important anymore. I would always lie and keep my secrets. I doubt that this could still be called friendship.
“Yeah of course, I’m here. Just had to think about something for a moment.” I responded as I tried to sound randomly but inside myself I had to admit that in the last weeks or rather months I would be trapped more and more in my own world than in the actual real world.
The two people sitting next two me looked at me skeptically but eventually continued to talk. “And you know what he said next, this disgusting faggot?” Mikey said and I realized how disgusted his voice sounded as he talked about his brother. “He said – he really said – that he loved this other guy. I mean that’s… I can’t believe it! I mean it’s one thing to fuck a guy which is disgusting enough but to actually talk about love isn’t even possible. It’s against the nature, I mean two guys can’t fall in love, am I right, guys?”
Mikey first looked at Spencer and then at me and I quickly nodded while Spencer murmured something. I shared a glance with the latter and we both must’ve realized that we didn’t agree with the shit Mikey was talking. I wondered when he had turned so discriminating, when he had started to hate people for something that’s not even their fault.
I was pretty sure that being gay wasn’t a choice. If it was everybody would choose being a heterosexual person because that was just so much easier. I couldn’t understand how my best friend had turned into what I now saw before me. Suddenly I wished to be somewhere else, somewho else.
I decided that I couldn’t take this shit any longer. “Guys, I’m really sorry. It’s been a great evening but I really have to go now because I have to work early tomorrow and want to have some hours of sleep so I’ll go now.” Spencer quickly looked at me and then murmured that he also had to go because Linda would kill him if he came home too late.
We left Mikey at the bar but he almost didn’t notice our departure because he already found some guys that seemed to be just like him – full of hate and in favor of talking shit.
“You don’t agree with everything Mikey had said in there, don’t you?” I quietly asked as Spencer and I walked down the road without a special destination. Surprised my best friend looked at me. “Of course not. I accept everyone really and I have no idea how Mikey turned out to be like this. Honestly, even if Gerard is gay, just let him be!”
“Thank you.” I responded. “For what?” “It’s just, not many people think like you do – like we do – and I really don’t understand why there is so much hate in the world just because of something people don’t even choose.
After that we again walked in silence but for the first time in months it was actually a pleasant silence and not an uncomfortable one.
“There is something I actually wanted to tell you.” Spencer started after some time. “Linda and I… we are enganged!” I looked at him – shocked- because he hadn’t said anything the whole evening.
“When did that happen?” I eventually asked still not believing it. “It was actually two nights ago. You know how I am, it wasn’t an extremely romantic proposal like in the movies but I just cooked something for us at home and as a dessert I proposed and she said yes.” Spencer smiled like an idiot and it was so catching that I also couldn’t stop smiling.
“The wedding will already be in December. We decided to do it just before Christmas. Because we both don’t need an extremely fancy wedding with much effort we decided to do it then. So, will you come?” Spencer looked at me expectantly as if I would really refuse to come.
“Of course I’ll come. You’re my best friend!” I smiled but as I saw Spencer’s face my smile slightly faded. His facial expression said something like “Are we really still best friends?” but we both didn’t dare to say anything else.
“So here we are.” I unnecessarily said as we stood in front of my apartment building. The building was as decomposed from the outside as it was from the inside but it didn’t matter to me very much.
“Here we are.” Spencer repeated after me. “Actually I wanted to tell you something else too because I feel like I’ve never really told you this. I’m sorry for everything that had happened. For the death of that Dallon guy, for the thing you found out about your father and you have a brother now, I still can’t believe it!” That was probably the longest conversation my best friend and I had had in a really long time.
“Thank you.” I replied because I actually really needed that. “But you know, I may have a brother now but you will always be my real brother. You’re the one I grew up with and you have always been my brother! Nothing will change that, really!”
There was a slightly awkward moment but eventually my best friend and I hugged and it was the best I had felt for some time. I remembered all the wonderful days we had spent together as we had grown up. We had gone through so many things so why shouldn’t we be able to also manage this crisis now.
“Unfortunately I really have to leave now, this wasn’t an excuse before because I really do have to work tomorrow.” I laughed as we loosened our hug.
Spencer and I said our goodbyes and with an extraordinary great feeling I went into the building and got to the third floor to my tiny apartment. I was slightly surprised to see nobody else but Brendon Urie sit in front of said apartment. Again I realized that he was just a human being as I was.
Before I knew him Brendon had been like a god for me because I only recognized him for the Social Busters but obviously not for the person he really was besides that.
“Long time, no see I would say.” I realized that even though it had been just about two weeks since we last saw each other it was probably the longest time period where Brendon and I hadn’t seen each other so it had felt much longer actually.
“May I come in?” Brendon asked seriously, ignoring my comment. I nodded and eventually opened the door of my apartment. We went into the kitchen and sat down at the table.
“I don’t think that I can handle this anymore.” Brendon started after some moments of silence. “No really, Dallon is dead, Andy, Jon and I are just fighting because of every tiny thing and everyone who comes to our castings is just an untalented fan or a person who actually is talented but therefore extremely annoying. We will never find somebody who is able to play the guitar or the bass well and is actually not a jerk too.”
This didn’t seem to be the only thing that was bothering him – there was clearly more – something he would never talk about but I decided not to push him because in the end Brendon had been the one who had come here.
“Do you want something to eat or to drink?” I asked politely since we were in the kitchen anyways. There was this strange look on Brendon’s face I wasn’t able to identify.
“No, I don’t. But I want something else to be honest. That is the reason why I came here today, Ryan, and I think you know exactly what I mean.” Brendon glanced at my face and I immediately hoped that we were thinking the same.
I took a step towards him so we were standing just a few inches apart. It was a risky thing – what we were doing here could be extremely dangerous when seen by the wrong person. But in this moment I knew for sure that we were thinking exactly the same thing, that we felt exactly the same thing.
We both drew closer to each other and I touched Brendon’s shoulders slightly as he touched mine. It was a really slow approaching but not less wonderful. I would never forget the moment where I first felt his breath on my lips – that indescribable moment where both people knew that a kiss was about to happen in just a few seconds.
Two inches, one inch, zero inches – and then his lips where on mine and my lips where on his. I’ve had some girlfriends before, I’d kissed them and I’d slept with them but never had I ever felt as I felt in this moment. I wanted to take this moment and just put it in some kind of box so I would be able to replay it over and over again.
Brendon’s lips moved on mine – first carefully but then more urging and I felt that his cock was hard because it pressed against mine through all the layers of clothes. Soon his tongue entered my mouth and I couldn’t help but moan like we were in a stupid porn movie.
I was scared – of course I was – but even more I wanted this to happen and it was Brendon whom I was kissing here. If someone would’ve told me a few months ago that I would kiss Brendon Urie, that I would feel his hard cock against mine someday I would’ve declared this person mad. How was this supposed to be unnatural and wrong?
Painfully I had to think about Mikey for a moment who would have beaten the shit out of me if he knew about what I did right now.
“Everything OK?” Brendon asked quietly as he broke the kiss off, concern written in his face. I smiled. “Yeah. Everything’s fine. Actually it’s more than fine. I just had to think about how shitty the world is. How full of hate people are.”
Brendon looked at me sadly. “I know what you mean. I’m wondering the same thing every fucking day. I hate the world – honestly – I hate people. But I don’t hate you. No, I really don’t.”
We smiled at each other but this time it was different because now we knew something. I realized that one tiny part of me had probably wanted this to happen since I first saw Brendon in some magazine or on some poster a few years ago. Even though I wouldn’t have admitted it back then I knew that it was true today.
“Ryan, I just had THE idea. For real, why don’t you join the Social Busters? I mean I heard you playing guitar and you were pretty amazing plus unlike other applicants you’re actually really nice. And I’m pretty sure that Jon can take over the bass because he did that before.” Brendon seemed to be extremely excited but I still couldn’t realize what he had just offered.
“You mean, for real? I should join the most famous band of the decade?” I asked astonished.
“Why not?” Brendon replied laughing. “Yeah, why not.” I eventually said as my voice fainted.
And that was the beginning of everything.

Chapter Text

“Ryan, you filthy bastard, come here immediately.” My foster father shouted and I knew that he was drunk again and that again I was the one who had to suffer because of that. I often felt like this family just took me so the father had someone to beat up properly because he never beat up his wife or his real child.
I knew that I had no choice so I went downstairs. Once I had tried to escape but then the beating was ten times worse than usual so I decided to bear it as soon as possible.
I wore a long shirt and long jeans even though it was summer but that was just because I had to conceal the traces of the beatings and I already had to think about a way to conceal the ones that would be added today tomorrow.
My foster father was already waiting in the living room and he wore a sadistic grin on his face. My foster brother as well as her son both knew about the beatings but they both didn’t dare to do something or maybe they just didn’t care.
“You fucking faggot.” The man in front of me screamed and even though few things still shocked me this did because he’d actually never called me that before. I knew that it would just worsen things but I couldn’t help myself and start to hit him. One could call me a bastard, an arsehole or a fucker but a faggot was just too much.
“You fucking filthy faggot.” My foster father screamed as I hit him in the face. There was blood somewhere, probably because I hit his nose and in this moment I knew that he was probably going to kill me.
“You’ll see what you’ll get now that you have hit me!” he screamed and just one second later I could feel his fist on my stomach. He never hit me in my face because that would just be way too obvious and then his puppy he could always beat up would’ve been taken from him. Sometimes I wished that he would just hit me in the face or that he would hit me so hard that I would die because everything was better than this, even hell.
The next punch probably broke one of my ribs but then he did something he’d never done before. Just when I thought he would never do that he hit me in the face. Everything was blurred and I could smell and see blood somewhere. Something had changed because he now continued beating me in my face. Now I was also able to taste the blood and my sight was really bad.
I was almost unconscious as I saw something shining that was about to hit me. Just in the right moment I realized that this was a knife whit which he wanted to kill me. Even though just a few seconds before I preferred dying over anything a new will to live grasped me and I immediately decided that I had to run away.
I got up as quickly as I could and just because I owned the element of surprise the monster in front of me wasn’t able to grab me fast enough. I ran through the house and reached the house door just in the right moment. Almost unconsciously I reached opened it and heard the screams after me that called me a ‘faggot’ several times.
***

Someone grabbed me by my shoulder and I was screaming. I could still taste the blood in my mouth and smell it in the air. I could feel my broken rib and my broken nose. I could still recall the state of almost unconsciousness in which I wondered around through the streets – alone and being just seventeen years old.
“Ryan, calm down please, it’s just me, Brendon Urie. You can calm down now, it was just a bad dream.” A calming voice said but I knew better. It hadn’t been a bad dream, it had been an even worse memory. It was scary how this memory was still so clear in my head. It was scary how bad memories would always be more memorable than good memories even though the latter were much better and therefore should rather stay in our minds.
I looked at Brendon who returned the look concerned. “What are you doing here?” I eventually asked because I couldn’t remember how he got into my apartment. “You fell asleep sometime, you know after we… Anyways I was extremely tired myself and ventured to sleep on the couch in the living room. Was this wrong? I’m sorry I thought…”
“Yeah what did you actually think, Brendon? That we are a couple now? Because we’re not and we never will be. This can’t happen, we can never be a couple, OK? We are living in the 60s, homosexuality is still illegal in many countries and was here too until lately. You know how many discrimination there still is, how many people still get arrested. Haven’t you heard of this stupid law that forbade homosexuals to drink something in public because a gathering of them was ‘disorderly’? We can’t do this, OK? Plus you’re probably the most famous person of the decade so this would extremely change!”
“Calm down, Ryan, for real! I’m not stupid you know? I also live in the 60s and I really didn’t think that there was something between us now. Yesterday was great but I really just slept on your couch because it was convenient, OK? I didn’t have second thoughts!” Brendon looked at me – hurt, desperate and sad – and eventually left without another word. I realized that probably everything was said between us now.
Yesterday had just been a dream. A beautiful dream – yeah – a wonderful dream but really just a dream and the time where we lived wouldn’t allow us to think something different. I had to think about Gerard who openly admitted in front of his brother that he was in love with some guy but what had changed? Nothing because it had just made things worse.
I realized that it was just in the middle of the time because it was still dark outside as I slowly fell back asleep again. Everything was OK – yeah, everything was great.
***

“Hey George, can you please give me the beans?” Zeppelin asked me because I just held the can with the beans in my hand. Without another word I gave him the beans and we continued to eat in silence. There was this ritual between street people where the cans with food were always given to the person sitting on the left side of you so everyone would eventually get everything that was available on that day.
Today we actually had a pretty great haul because next to the beans we also got peaches in a glass as well as mashed potatoes and even some fragmented tomatoes. But the highlight definitely was a tiny piece of bread everyone got just a little bit of but considering what I got recently this was a real banquet for all of us.
“I heard that Barney now has an apartment but he still searches some people to live with him so the rent won’t be so expensive. Too be honest I really thought that you could maybe join him, George. You’re young, OK, and we all know that you have the best chances to live a normal life again. You most certainly could get a little job to pay the rent so why don’t you try it.”
I thought about it. Deep inside me I knew that Zeppelin was right. I was now living on the street for nine months and in this time I had finally turned eighteen which I hadn’t told anyone here to be honest. When Zeppelin and his gang had accepted me back then I had honestly thought that I would die because of the injuries this monsters had made me suffer. But homeless people had surprisingly good resources as I had to learn in the course of time.
I eventually came back to the living people and incorporated into the society of the street people which was actually pretty easy. Everybody had a task to do so the whole society could continue to exist. I knew for sure that if it hadn’t been for Zeppelin I would already be dead so I owed him all.
The thing was just that one tiny part of me felt like I deserved everything that had happened and generally I didn’t feel too bad living on the streets. But then I thought about an apartment - a bed, a kitchen and a bathroom which was probably the thing I missed the most – and I realized that it was time to move on. Furthermore it was Zeppelins wish so how could I say no?
“Tell Barney that I’d love to join him at the shared flat.” I eventually said and a small smile appeared on my face.
***

The last twelve hours where really confusing – dreams, memories and actual events all put together in a whirlwind of happenings – so when I finally woke up in the moment I had to think for a moment what was really true and what I had just imagined.
I knew that Brendon and I had kissed each other but then in the middle of the night I screamed at him and I also remembered that he told me that I may be a part of the Social Busters. I wondered if this really was the case.
In the course of time I became a pretty good guitar player because when I had been little we had had a guitar at home and I received lessons back then but adding to that I also thought myself a lot. Then, when I was in the best foster home I’d ever been in and probably the only good one the family also had had a guitar on which I was allowed to play whenever I wanted which I did. And now I regularly played on the guitar in the record store because we also had one there but I couldn’t do this anymore.
I just laid in the bed for a few minutes which I hadn’t done in a really long time. I thought about my jobs which I definitely had neglected in the recent time. I thought about Mikey Way whom I wouldn’t call my best friend anymore because we became just to alienated and – of course – I also thought about Brendon whom I kissed yesterday.
Eventually I decided that I would go to the studio because I was allowed to go there whenever I wanted now. Firstly I wanted to know if the guys had heard anything about my eventual joining of the band and secondly I didn’t want to face Brendon alone after what had happened yesterday.
The studio was easily accessible by foot so I also had a little walk while going there. Autumn slowly came to Las Vegas now which was visible on the trees and one could also feel the slight change of the temperature.
When I arrived at the studio I already saw Jon and Andy from afar because they were apparently dragging boxes to the truck which was standing in front of the studio.
“Hasn’t Brendon told you?” Andy asked as I finally reached them and my confused facial expression probably told him everything. “I see. So we’re moving to New York, away from this decomposed studio façade and to a real one with high security standards. Some guys are driving this truck there. This will take a while but the thing is that there is highly important stuff in there which is just too dangerous to transport with the plane. I’m really confused why Brendon hasn’t told you anything though.”
I was completely flooded with so much information and was wondering the same though. Brendon had appeared to be fine with us last night but had this just been a lie?
“Anyways, I really want to hear you play soon. I mean I trust Brendon but we’ll have to see how you really fit in.” Jon eventually started talking. “So will you already come on tour with us?”
I was even more confused. “Which tour?” I then asked. Jon and Andy looked at each other as if I was a complete idiot.
“Hasn’t Brendon told you anything at all?” Jon eventually said. “Because our new album came out now of course we’re going on tour right now. America of course, but also Europe, Oceania, Asia – basically the whole world. So are you coming with us or not? The start is in three days.”
Both Jon and Andy looked at me expectantly but I honestly didn’t know what to say. A world tour? I had never been outside of the US and now I could see the whole world or at least concert halls of the whole world.
“Ah one more thing, Ryan.” Andy said before I both guys wanted to go back inside to carry another box to the truck. He smiled at me genuinely and I already felt good.
“Welcome to the Social Busters.”

Chapter Text

I looked out of the window and saw the endless vast of the clouds who seemed to be candyfloss. When I had been a little boy back when my parents had still been alive I always thought that clouds would really have the consistency of it and that they would be all fluffy and stuff. But as with all the things in life I became older and I learned that clouds were actually just steam and ice and one wouldn’t be able to touch them as easily as candyfloss.
“Guys, I think that I can already see Minneapolis!” Andy said joyful. He was actually pretty excited because he hadn’t been part of the Social Busters for such a long time which is why this was his first big tour as well as it was for me.
The band had actually been founded by Brendon, Jon and two other guys nobody could really remember that well anymore because there had been some problems with both of them. Very soon one of the other guys had left and Dallon came to join and like one year ago the other guy also left and Andy became the new drummer.
Actually I was also supposed to feel excited because I joined a band like one month ago. Then I had moved to New York which was completely crazy. And now I was already on tour with some of the most famous people of the century. One could only dream about stuff like that and I was actually living that dream so why didn’t I feel so excited?
The decision to join the band had been very easy. Nothing actually kept me in Las Vegas – maybe just the memory of my parents – plus I lost my favorite job before and would have had severe money problems if I would’ve stayed there.
I looked out of the window again and realized that Andy was right. The lights of the city were already visible. Minneapolis was the start of the Zero Gravity-Tour which was called after the third album which came out recently. The tour was supposed to last more than a year but because there were five legs there were actually many breaks and episodes where we would be in New York for a few weeks.
The plane eventually started the landing approach and sank lower and lower. This one was even fancier than the one Brendon and I flew in to Kansas City. Everyone had a tiny place for themselves which I really appreciated.
Soon we had earth under our feet again and I was actually freezing when we came out of the plane. The temperatures also hadn’t been that high in New York City but I felt like we were on the North Pole here in Minneapolis.
Of course a limousine was already waiting for us and several people were about to put our luggage into another car so it would be brought to the hotel we were staying in. Brendon led us as we made our way to the limousine which immediately drove away after we all sat down.
I had to think about the fact that just a few years ago I was living on the streets and even a few months ago I had four jobs to pay my rent and buy the things one needed to survive. And now I was flying in a private jet and driving in a limousine. Wasn’t life a sarcastic bitch?
I looked out of the window as we drove through the streets. I’d never been in Minneapolis before. To be honest I’d barely come out of Las Vegas in my life. My parents had had a cabin in the woods but where we would always spend our holidays but it was sold after their deaths. Then once I’d been in Los Angeles on a school trip because it wasn’t that far away but that was the only other big city I had seen before New York and now Minneapolis.
I realized that soon I wouldn’t even remember all the names of the cities we’d travel to because there would just be too many.
To avoid much attention which to be honest we already had through the limousine the driver piled at the back entrance of the hotel again. I felt like every bigger hotel had something like that in case famous people would come by.
We got in through the back door – the car that brought our luggage was parking right behind ours – and I inspected the hotel properly. It was probably rated five stars because I’d never seen such a luxury hotel in my whole life before. There were fancy chandeliers on the ceiling and portraits of famous people who had stayed here before where all over the walls.
In one corner you could see a lounge with sofas and armchairs. There were also some plants to strengthen the cozy atmosphere. On the ceiling there were some kind of chain of lights that stretched over the whole place. The counter was decorated with even more of them and the latter was also the place where we headed to.
Brendon didn’t even have to say who he was because everybody knew already. “Welcome Mr. Urie, Mr. Walker, Mr. Hurley and who is that?” The man on the counter asked while the last question was directed to me. “I’m Ryan Ross, sir, the new guitarist of the band.” I eventually said. I had always preferred my second name over my first one and I would always say that my name was Ryan if somebody who didn’t know would asked me.
“Interesting. Then I may also welcome you, Mr. Ross.” The man answered. “We have already prepared everything for your arrival of course. You obviously get the suite which is located on the top floor. There are two apartments which each two bedrooms and of course everything else. If you need something else I may offer our room service where almost everything is available.” The man smiled at us but it was obviously not a genuine smile but a forced one.
We thanked him and eventually made our way to the suite. Andy and Jon were talking about random things while Brendon and I were silent. It was already obvious who would go to a suite with whom and I yet had to prepare myself for the upcoming hours.
Brendon and I hadn’t really talked since that night and I kept wondering why he still wanted me to be in his band when he didn’t want to talk to me properly. I didn’t understand anything anymore. I thought that Brendon was OK with what I had said that night. It had been a kiss but nothing else. Now I kept wondering if all of this may have been a lie.
One tiny part of me actually thought that we had a special bond and that I would understand when he would lie and put on his mask and when he was telling the truth. But I obviously didn’t.
The elevator finally reached its destination, the top floor. As the door opened there were two doors visible – one on the right side and one on the left side – as the man at the counter had said. Jon and Andy immediately made their way to the right side because they already took the key there downstairs.
When Brendon and I were left alone in the corridor there was an awkward silence. “I guess we should also enter the room, shouldn’t we?” I eventually asked and Brendon – who had the keys – nodded and opened the door.
The suite wasn’t less fancy than the lobby downstairs. There was a big sofa in the middle of the living room and the newest TV in front of it. Next to the sofa were some armchairs and in front of it a table on which books and magazines were laying. On the left side was a kitchen area and a mini bar was also visible. Next to it was an open door which led to the bathroom and on the right side of the living room there were two doors which would lead us to our separate rooms.
Because of the awkward silence I instinctively chose the room on the right side and got in. The bed was big enough for at least three people and the wardrobe would’ve had enough space for twice as many clothes as I owned in general. I felt as if I was a part of a royal family or something.
I realized that I was already really tired and a glance at the clock which was located on the nightstand showed me that it was already past midnight. A new day had started – the day where I would have my first ever concert in front of thousands and thousands of people.
I fell asleep fast because the fatigue fortunately covered my anxiety considering what was about to happen in the next weeks, months, years – probably in my next life that would start today.
***
I woke up because someone apparently had broken a glass or something else, at least it sounded like that. A few seconds later that I needed to realize where I was and what I was doing here I got up and went into the kitchen where I saw Brendon cleaning up the floor.
“Sorry that I woke you up.” He said apologetically as he recognized me. “I just wanted to drink something but accidentally the glass slipped out of my hand and now I have produced a mess.” “No problem. Should I help you clean up?” I asked not because I was such a nice person but because of the awkward silence which always appeared if neither of us didn’t know what to do.
“No it’s OK but thanks.” Brendon said obviously not looking at me. I nodded and went over to the mini bar which was actually not as little as it had appeared to be. Apparently everything one may need was already here at least concerning something to drink. I looked at the bottles and finally took a bottle of vodka pure.
“What are you doing?” Brendon asked, confused because it was in the middle of the night and I just woke up and everything was just so weird. I looked at him and it was probably for the first time since the incident had happened that we had direct eye contact. Neither of us wanted to end it so we were just standing there for a few seconds – I with the bottle of vodka in my hand and he with the brush in his.
“I honestly don’t know.” I eventually said as I opened the bottle and took one sip of the vodka. It was awful and I hated it. I felt like most people would just drink alcohol because they wanted to get drunk – they wanted to forget things and not think about them – but there were probably few people who just really liked the taste of alcohol.
“Good idea.” Brendon said coming over but we both knew that it was everything but a good idea to get drunk right now. I handed him the bottle so he could also drink something and I already felt how the alcohol started to change my mood a few minutes later.
There had just been a few occasions in my life where I had got really drunk because I rarely fancied it but I felt that today was the perfect day. For the first time in a month we talked as freely as we had done when we had met each other. It was actually amazing and soon I forgot that Brendon and I actually had some problems.
“Hey Ryan there is also some whiskey in here!” Brendon said laughing and I joined in even though I didn’t even know why I was laughing. We also opened the other bottle but I didn’t taste a difference. Both liquids tasted awful but at least my mood was great now.
“You know that people always do stupid things when they’re drunk? Like really stupid things they know they shouldn’t do but they do it anyways?” Brendon said laughing and I looked at him confused. “Yeah, I really want to do that right now!” He added and I had no time to answer because his lips were already on mine just one seconds later after the words had left his mouth.
I knew that this was one of the stupid things he had talked about because this was really probably the stupidest thing we could do. Not only because we were two guys which was bad enough.
No, adding to that we also were band mates right now. We were famous people that were in the spotlight and every false move could be not just the end of our careers – and mine hadn’t even really started yet – it could also mean that we got arrested in the worst case.
But I didn’t want to think about that in this moment. I just wanted to enjoy the fact that Brendon’s lips were on mine and that his tongue now entered my mouth and I let it slip in.
The kiss was messy and fucked up and wonderful and I loved every second of it. We were both horny – I could feel it – but I knew that I wouldn’t let it come that far even though we were both extremely drunk.
I embraced Brendon with both my arms and drew him even closer so that no sheet of paper would’ve had space between our bodies. There were just some layers of clothes.
My tongue flew over his teeth and he moaned slightly as I broke the kiss and started to draw a line of kisses from his mound down to his neck. I was pretty sure that there would be some traces of our messy night tomorrow but it didn’t matter at this moment.
Brendon led me to the sofa so we were laying there but neither of us broke the kiss for one second. I eventually laid on my back and Brendon was laying on top of me. Somehow this position was extremely comfortable – my arms still embraced him and held him close – and at some point I fell asleep with the feeling of his breath in my neck.

Chapter Text

When I woke up I noticed some pretty uncommon things. First of all someone was laying on me and breathing in my ear which was really weird. Then there was this terrible sound which I couldn’t identify yet and third I realized that I had a terrible headache which was no wonder considering how much we drank yesterday.
Slowly I opened my eyes just to see Andy and Jon standing next to the sofa I was laying on with Brendon. Right, Brendon was laying on me and I could only imagine how this looked like now.
“Are you kidding me? We have this amazing comfortable beds and you’re sleeping on the fucking sofa which is not even big enough for one person and less for two?” Jon eventually said, half amused and half confused.
I slowly pushed Brendon – who only woke up because of what Jon had said – off me and could only hope that this didn’t look as bad as I thought it would look like. Just then I noticed the several hickeys on Brendon’s neck which were obviously not an injury.
I desperately tried to hint the guy I made out with last night that he somehow had to conceal them and finally Brendon understood what I meant. We could just hope that neither Jon nor Andy had seen them now.
“Yeah. We kind of had a little party here last night and we were like really drunk and somehow fell asleep here.” I tried to sound casual while Brendon still tried to conceal the marks somehow.
“You guys had a party? Without us? OK Ryan, there’s one thing you should know if you want to stay in our band! If you’re having a party on tour you’re supposed to invite everybody. And Brendon you arsehole, you should’ve known better!” Jon schooled us even though I was pretty sure that he was just half in earnest.
“Actually it hasn’t really been a party, OK? And it wasn’t like this was planned. It was like three am and I accidently broke a glass because I wanted to drink water but then Ryan came out of his room and put out the hard stuff out of the mini bar so it wasn’t really my fault and there had been no time to call you guys plus I actually thought that you would be asleep at three am because of the upcoming concert and stuff.” Brendon talked extremely fast which really confused me. It was as if he really was in a trial and wanted to justify himself.
“Yeah OK we were asleep then. But what about you, Ryan? You also should’ve been asleep considering that this will be your first concert ever today and in front of so many people.” Andy said his first words of the day and brought me back to the reality. How could I have forgotten about the concert?
“Leave Ryan alone please. He was just a little bit anxious. Anyways, what time is it? We wanted to practice a little bit before the show starts, right?” Brendon said defending me which somehow surprised me. I actually had no idea how things were between us now but I guess they couldn’t’ve been too bad.
“It’s exactly” Andy glanced at his watch which was very simple and nothing fancy I noticed. I generally noticed that all of the guys were pretty down-to-earth considering their fame. “12:34pm now. The show starts at 7pm so we still got some time. I suggest you guys eat something and then we can already drive to the concert hall.”
Everybody agreed so Brendon and I grabbed some food and we got into the limousine that would be us to the big concert hall. I noticed that it was the same driver as yesterday and I realized how much work it had to be for the people who planned the concerts to always find a location, a hotel, a driver and everything else.
The journey wasn’t really long and a short time later we stood in front of a great concert hall. Just then I started to realize what this all meant. I was about to play in front of thousands of people in a few hours and I would officially be introduced as the new member of the Social Busters because there hadn’t been an exact statement yet. My face would be on the cover of several newspapers and I would actually be famous.
This realization hit me like a truck and I tried to appear calm while I was screaming on the inside. “The famous Social Busters!” A voice appeared behind us and as we turned around a man about our age appeared who wore a big smile on his face. “Hello guys. My name’s Zack Hall and I’m the coordinator of this place.” He started to tell us. “This hall has enough space for about 14.000 people which is a lot. But I guess you won’t have a problem with that, right? Who is that?”
The last question was – again – directed at me because nobody had seen me before. “This is our newest member, Ryan Ross.” Brendon presented me and I was glad that he called me by my last name because I preferred this. “He will be taking over playing the guitar while Jon will continue playing the bass.”
Zack glanced at me curiously and I realized that this had happened frequently when I was being introduced as the new band members. Apparently people had another person in mind when they thought about Dallon’s replacement.
“All right. Do you want me to give you a little tour?” The coordinator said and as we all nodded he showed us the great hall. My anxiety grew with every second and as we finally stood on the stage at like two pm I was close to having a panic attack.
“Okay, let’s play Time To Dance first.” Brendon said while unobtrusively smiling at me because we had actually danced to this song once even though it was almost impossible. I tried to smile back and calm myself down as I grabbed my guitar and the song started.
It was still overwhelming to heat Brendon sing live. It had always been one thing to hear his voice on record but it was something completely different to hear it when he was standing next to me.
The song was over but my anxiety was still there. I glanced at the big hall and it was just too much for me. “Hey guys. I just realized that there’s something important I have to do right now but I promise that I’ll be back in one hour at the latest!” I said and just when I had finished I was already running to the back of the stage and eventually out of the hall.
I could hear my bandmates confused voices but I didn’t care because something else was more important at the moment. My destination was the shabby area where homeless people would life and because I was one of them for some time myself I found it really fast. I remembered to put on my sunglasses so nobody would recognize me when my picture would be all over the newspapers starting today.
Many people were looking at me because I didn’t look like one of them anymore. I looked like a normal person now with clean clothes. I tried to ignore their glances as I drew closer to a special group of people who looked like they would be able to help me.
“What do you want here boy?” An unfriendly man with greasy white hair asked me while he glanced at me annoyed. “I actually want to buy something. Do you know where I can get myself a little treat here?” I asked carefully because I didn’t want to get in any trouble. The man examined me again and eventually answered.
“You don’t look like one of this guys but I don’t care because it’s none of my business. You can get the best stuff of the neighborhood in this decomposed house there. Just ask for Crowley.” The man pointed at a building at the end of a street that was unmistakable. “Be careful, boy.” He added but I was already on my way to that building.
As I stood right in front of it it looked even worse than from afar. The door was open so I carefully got in even though nobody appeared to be at home. I was just about to go upstairs when I heard a click and as I turned around a gun was being pointed at me. I stayed calm because that was not a new situation for me.
“Calm down. I’m just here because I want to buy some stuff, OK? I was supposed to ask for Crowley.” I said and was proud of myself because I didn’t stutter like an idiot. The man lowered his gun but still looked at me skeptically.
“I am Crowley. What do you want?” he eventually asked and put his gun away completely. I quickly glanced at the room and realized that this building also didn’t look better from the inside than from the outside. Then I looked back into his face. I felt weird because I wore sunglasses inside and my father had once said that just douchebags and blind people would do that but it was just for my own protection. If somebody would realize that the soon to be famous Ryan Ross was at a place like this I could already start digging my own grave.
“I need some coke. Preferably all the coke you still have. I’m ready to pay a neat amount of money for that.” I answered because I to survive the whole tour I definitely needed enough and I didn’t want to go to a dealer in every city we were in because Brendon and the other would soon start asking questions.
The dealer looked at me surprised but eventually searched the coke and laid it on the table. I always wondered that being a drug dealer was probably the most dangerous but yet interesting job in the world because one would experience so many situations but would never be allowed to ask question.
Finally all the coke was gathered and I realized that it was an awful lot but I carried enough money with me. The dealer named the price and looked at me shocked as I really gave him all the money but without another word I left. I didn’t want to stay here any longer and I also had to get back to the concert hall.
I quickly stopped in a lonely alleyway because I didn’t want to leave any traces in the bathroom of the concert hall. After I put out a tiny bit of coke and placed it on the floor I quickly snorted it. Fortunately it wasn’t a windy day so it didn’t fly away and everything entered my body.
I got out of the alleyway as if nothing had happened and quickly made my way back to the concert hall. A glance at my watch showed me that it was 5:30 pm now which wasn’t good. I had promised my bandmates to be back within an hour but now it was actually much later.
A few minutes later I fortunately reached the concert hall already feeling the effects of the coke which I was able to conceal really well by this time. I planned to take another dose just before the concert would start and nothing really could go wrong.
Smiling I entered the backstage area where everyone was already waiting. “Where the fuck have you been, Ryan? Do you actually know what time it is?” Jon screamed at me but nothing was able to bring me down now.
“Yeah, I know and I’m sorry.” I said, probably still smiling. Brendon’s face showed me that he was concerned but he definitely had no reason to be. “Are you at least OK?” he asked while my smile widened.
“Yeah, I’m great. I’ve actually never felt better in my life.”

Chapter Text

“Ryan, wake the fuck up? What’s wrong with you recently?” Brendon brought me out of my dreamless sleep. I needed a few seconds to recognize where I was and eventually realized that we were currently on the plane to New York City. Actually we had already landed and I wondered how I could’ve slept then because normally my ears would hurt when a plane approaches to land.
Yesterday we had played a show in Toronto and apparently I took a little bit too much of the coke. Normally I was able to control the dose because when I had lived on the streets drugs had been a daily business but yesterday it might had been a little bit too much.
New York would already be our tenth show tomorrow so today we actually had a day off which I really enjoyed. It was good to be home again even though I wasn’t sure if could call this city my home when I had just lived there for like one month before.
“Don’t worry, Brendon. I’m fine. I’m actually just tired because unlike you I’m not used to being on tour yet.” I created an actually pretty good excuse as we got out of the plane. Jon and Andy were already waiting for us in front of the limousine that would bring us to our homes.
Because I had enough money now I actually had enough money to afford a little apartment in the city which would’ve been impossible before since New York was one of the most expensive cities of the world. Brendon had actually offered that we could share a flat when we had moved here but I preferred to be alone and especially didn’t want to stay in an apartment with my band mate since it was really weird between us.
I knew that Jon was living with his wife Cassie and Andy with his girlfriend Meredith whom I have both seen a few times before. Brendon and I were both not dating anybody and I didn’t want to think about a situation where one of us actually would.
“You’re acting really weird lately, pal.” Andy noticed as we all got into the car. “I hope you will use this day effectively and rest so you will be fit tomorrow.” He glanced at me and I felt extremely uncomfortable. I had tried to conceal my anxiety very well but apparently everyone noticed that something was wrong with me.
The driver first brought Jon to the apartment he lived in and after that it was Andy’s turn so Brendon and I were left alone again. Since we had made out in Minneapolis there was a strange accepting of the situation as it was right now. Neither of us was angry with the other person but still we didn’t talk as much as we did back when we just met each other.
Sometimes I wanted to have this time back. Even though many things were really bad back then – I had four jobs and barely enough money – things between Brendon and me had actually been better and being famous wasn’t actually as amazing as one may think it was.
The car became slower and eventually stopped. It was time for Brendon to get out because we stood in front of his apartment building. “Goodbye then, Ryan. See you tomorrow I guess. And please do as Andy had said because you’re really weird lately.” My bandmate said as he got out of the vehicle. I turned around as the driver started the engine again and gazed after Brendon until we drove around the corner and I couldn’t see him anymore.
I then looked out of the window and watched the people walk down the streets – most of them stressed because they had an appointment somewhere but then there were also some tourists who enjoyed the city and walked slowly – I looked at the apartment buildings and the shops who flew by and realized that I barely knew this city even though I lived here now.
My apartment building was located in Greenwich Village which was known to be the artists’ quarter of New York. I actually really liked this area because so many different people lived here who still fitted together really well.
The car stopped in front of the big apartment which looked like any other building of the area. The brown facades with the obligatory fire escape staircases extended through the whole quarter but I actually really liked this style. It wasn’t too fancy but also not as decomposed as my apartment in Las Vegas had been.
I took my luggage and carried it to the top floor where my apartment was located. To avoid much attention I had decided to rent this one because it was the only one on the fifth floor. That was also the reason because the latter was much smaller than the other floors.
I reached the door of the place which still didn’t feel completely as if it was my home and opened the door. “Hey Ryan. I didn’t expect you to be back so soon!” said my brother who had made himself a home here.
Actually Brent had his own apartment back in Las Vegas but I allowed him to stay here as long as I was on tour, at least for some time. Because he was an architect who mainly had to create models of buildings and stuff he was able to work from everywhere. He just had to carry the model to his office when it was finished but this could easily take a few weeks. That was why I gave him my second keys so he could always come to my apartment when he had the time.
“Yeah, the concert yesterday was exhausting so we decided that we would rather be home on our day off so we can have another great concert tomorrow. Canadian fans are really some special thing.” I said which was already half true. Also the coke I took yesterday complicated my situation.
Brent looked at me smiling. “I still can’t believe it! I mean I just know you for like six weeks or something and I didn’t even know that I had a brother before. And now you’re part of a band and not just one band but a really famous one. I mean you are part of Brendon Urie’s band. Who doesn’t know him nowadays?”
I laughed because I also couldn’t believe it. But unfortunately everything wasn’t as amazing as I thought it would be. “How long do you till plan to stay here?” I asked to not think about all of the things that went wrong in my life. “I actually wanted to leave tomorrow because I have to get back to Las Vegas and go to my office. But I planned to come back shortly before Christmas because that’s when you guys are having a break, right?”
My brother looked at me expectantly. Everyone looked at me expectantly these days and it was slowly killing me. “Yeah right. Shortly before Christmas we will finish the US leg. I’m glad you still stayed today.” I eventually replied smiling.
“So are you hungry?” My brother asked as we got into the kitchen. “I actually have some leftover pizza from yesterday.” I looked at the carton with the pizza and felt no urge to eat something but I definitely knew that coke was repressing the feeling of hunger so I decided to eat nevertheless.
There were three giant pieces of a random salami pizza left and I forced myself to eat them all because I didn’t want to lose any weight because then Brendon and my other band mates would be even more worried and ask more questions. “Thank you.” I said when I had finished eating and put the carton in the trash. “I’m glad you ate the rest because otherwise I probably would’ve thrown it in the trash so you really don’t have to thank me.” Brent said laughing.
I sat down on the sofa because I actually was pretty exhausted. The last night had been very unrestful because I had taken too much coke before so I barely slept and when I did I still felt awful. I definitely had to control my doses better because something like that couldn’t happen again.
“I think I’ll actually lay down because I’m really tired.” I told my brother. “But you can do whatever you want. Have fun, after all it’s your last day in New York for some time.”
I did as I had said and went into my room which was probably my favorite place in the world. I’d never had such a big space just for me before and it felt pretty amazing. My bed seemed to laugh at me but I eventually laid down. Even though I was exhausted I couldn’t fall asleep for a really long time but when I finally did sometime my mind was free of thoughts.
***
When I woke up it was already dark outside. I must’ve slept hours and really, as I looked at the clock on my nightstand I realized that it was already 8:30pm. It was late but not too late to get some coke. Because of my increased use of the drug the great amount I had bought in Minneapolis was already almost used up and I definitely needed more to survive the upcoming weeks.
Because I had slept in my clothes I didn’t need to change so I grabbed my purse and directly made my way to the living room. It was quiet what meant that my brother either went out or that he was in his room and possibly also asleep but I doubted the latter.
I quickly put on my shoes, grabbed my keys and got out of the apartment eventually. As I walked down the stairs – because the elevator was of course out of order – I wondered what my bandmates were possibly doing right now. I guessed that Jon and Andy would probably enjoy the time with their wife and girlfriend but I couldn’t guess what Brendon could do.
Neither of us wanted to have a party and get drunk because we already did that enough when we were on tour so probably everybody enjoyed a day of quietness for once.
I made my way through the streets of New York and inspected the people who crossed my path. There were – of course – the tourists who were fascinated by the city because they probably visited New York for the first time.
Then there were teenage girls giggling because it was probably their first night out and the first time they were going to a club – probably with fake IDs.
Next there were business people who were really stressed because they again worked way too long and wanted to get home to their spouse.
And then there were people like me - people who lived here but still felt as if they wouldn’t belong here, as if they didn’t belong everywhere. We were all wandering souls who hadn’t figured out the reason we were on this earth. Everything felt wrong and everything that felt right still felt wrong.
The latter group was very easy to identify because we always were alone with an unidentifiable sad expression on our face because we were doomed.
My drug dealer was already waiting for me as I reached the spot in the park where we would usually meet. Dan knew who I was but I trusted him that he wouldn’t tell anyone because we already met when I was living on the streets years ago.
“The usual?” he asked me when I reached the place where he was standing slightly behind a bush. I nodded because it was always the same. Even though it had been some time since I’d last met Dan he always knew what his customers would take – he never forgot. One could say that my drug dealer was some kind of drug dealer for famous people because rumor said that he would sell his stuff to several other stars too.
I myself was convinced that his stuff was really good and not mixed up with any other substances that could be even more dangerous. I gave Dan the money as he gave me the small packet. We both nodded at each other and then he had already disappeared in the darkness as if nothing had happened here.
I quickly hid the packet and also started walking but in the other direction. The park was empty and for a few seconds it felt like I was the last person on earth because one could only see trees and bushes everywhere and nothing else. Eventually I got back to my apartment and opened the door. Everything appeared to be quiet so I quickly got into the bathroom to take some of the stuff I just bought and try it out.
I opened the small package and put some of the powder-like substance on my finger. When I had first snorted coke it had felt so weird but now it was just the most normal people I was able to feel. It was my lifeboat to get off of a sinking ship.
I quickly put the packet with the coke back in my pocket just in the right moment because Brent entered the room just a few seconds later. I was such a fool beause I had forgotten to close up the door. But I had thought that he was probably not here or already asleep.
“What the hell is that?” My brother asked me. First I didn’t understand what he meant because I had already put away the coke and there were no suspicious signs left – the sink was clean and nowhere else was any coke left.
But when I slowly looked into the mirror I knew what Brent had meant. My nose was completely covered in the white powder and I knew that the person standing next to me was now the one who would decide how my future would look like – my brother was able to destroy my upcoming career.

Chapter Text

Brent looked at me and I was able to see disappointment in his face. I didn’t know how to feel because I hadn’t had a family for so many years now and I completely forgot how it felt like if a family member was disappointed because of what you did.
Even though I just knew my brother for some weeks it felt awful and I didn’t want to think about how I would feel if a person I actually knew longer would find out what I was doing. Everybody thought that I was doing fine. Everybody thought that I liked to be in the spotlight – that I liked to play in front of thousands of people in great concert halls – but I didn’t.
One tiny part of me sometimes wished to go back to being just some random guy with four jobs. Even though I had enough money now everything else seemed to be wrong.
“How could you, honestly? My own brother is a fucking drug addict and I haven’t even noticed that even though I thought I had become pretty good at noticing such things…” Brent obviously couldn’t look at me anymore and I felt – yeah what did I actually feel – shame, disgust but also carelessness somehow.
A few weeks ago he had told me that his mother was a drug addict too and even though it had been better at the end of her life she had actually died because of an overdose. I really couldn’t understand how he felt now because I felt like everything I would do or say would make things even worse. How could I – his own brother who knew about his mother – take drugs even though I knew how dangerous this was.
Brent wanted to leave the room but I eventually managed to say something. “Brent please. I’m so sorry. Can you please not tell Brendon, my other bandmates or generally anybody? Can this please be our little secret?” I begged. Brent looked at me even more disgusted and I knew that I’d actually made things worse now.
“Of course I won’t tell anyone. What you do is your business. But I can assure you one thing” he started and I already had a bad feeling about what was following “we’re done here, honestly don’t meet me ever again. I had honestly been so happy when I read about your existence – I thought that maybe just one part of my family wasn’t fucked up since my dad had left me and my mother was a dead drug addict – but now I knew that I had been wrong again. I have no family!” My brother turned around and finally left the room. Deep inside me I knew that I had really fucked up and that he meant everything he had said.
I didn’t try to follow him – I just stood there in the middle of the bathroom with my face still full of the white powder that had just destroyed the relationship I had tried to develop with my brother.
As I looked into the mirror and saw myself I suddenly felt an indescribable anger – at myself, at my parents, at Brendon, at the whole world – and before I even realized it the glass of the mirror was broken and my hand was bleeding. I didn’t feel the pain and even if I did it would’ve been a welcome feeling I would’ve appreciated.
Tears were falling of my face – tears of anger, tears of mourning and tears because I was just me and that my life was the way it was – and soon I wasn’t able to see anything anymore because my vision was blurred. I leaned down on the wall and eventually sank down leading to a sitting position on the floor.
Animal-like sounds left my mouth and soon I was screaming and crying and melting all at once. I wanted to go back and time and I wanted to tell my younger self that it wasn’t that bad to have four jobs. I wanted to tell him – me – that there were things much worse than that and that even enough money didn’t mean that a person was automatically happy.
There was a tiny – or maybe not so tiny anymore – part of me that also wished to have never met Brendon in the first place because he had been the reason my whole life had changed and definitely not for the better.
I realized how soporific screaming and crying really was and when I was finally able to stop I just managed to go to my room, fall in my bed and immediately fall asleep.
***
“Ryan, fuck, open the fucking door!” was the first thing I heard when I woke up. Now it was definitely the next day because the sun shone into my room and lightened everything up in a very comfortable way.
I moaned and eventually got up to go to the door and scream at the person who would be standing in front of it. It was Jon who looked absolutely furious. “You son of a bitch, you…” he started but then tried to calm himself down.
“Ryan.” He started again, alarmingly calm this time. “Jon.” I returned while I almost started laughing. Even though this situation wasn’t funny it kind of was in some way and always had been that kind of person who would start laughing in the worst moment ever.
“Do you know what time it is?” Jon said, almost screaming again and obviously ignoring my little comment. I shrugged my shoulders because some part of me somehow wanted to provoke him. Jon groaned. “It’s 1:30 pm actually and you were supposed to be at the band practice like thirty minutes ago, you idiot!”
I had realized something about Jon in the time I already knew him now. Normally he wouldn’t be the person who would be swearing and screaming cusses the whole time but when he was really furious he would use one in every sentence. So one could only imagine in which state he was in right now.
“Fuck, I completely forgot. I literally just woke up as you knocked on my door.” I eventually said which was actually true. “What did you do yesterday? Did you attend a party or why did you sleep so long?” Jon asked curiously. I glanced at him. “No, I just… I kind of needed to catch up on some sleep because I haven’t slept really well in the last weeks.” I said as I realized that I had actually slept like fourteen hours which was just crazy.
“OK but hurry up now. The limousine is waiting downstairs and obviously everyone else is!” Jon finally said and left my apartment. I was finally alone but I wouldn’t be for a long time. I quickly put on some random clothes grabbed my purse and the coke for later and then left the apartment to go downstairs five stairs where the limousine was standing as Jon said.
I didn’t like that it was standing just in front of my apartment building because until now nobody knew that Ryan Ross was living here and I definitely wanted it to stay this way.
I quickly entered the vehicle and sat down next to the others. I actually felt like it had been a month since I last saw my band even though it had barely been twenty four hours actually. “Everything OK?“ Brendon asked which he did more frequently now. I looked at him hating it and loving it that someone cared about me. “Yes.” I simple answered because I always said that,
I always didn’t like it when Brendon put on his celebrity mask and would just be a completely different person – a lying person – but now I had to realize that I was the same now. I was always lying to everyone – that was nothing new – but now I was also lying to Brendon what I usually hadn’t done before. I felt bad but I knew that I couldn’t tell my bandmate about my problems – not this time.
The vehicle wriggled through the traffic of New York City. The latter was always enormous no matter at which time one would drive through the city. Eventually we arrived at the concert hall which was probably the biggest one I’d seen until now. My anxiety grew and I thanked myself that I didn’t forget to take the stuff with me.
“I completely forgot to tell you guys that we also have to give an interview today. Random procedure, as always I’m going to talk the most because people like that and you’ll just say something if the interviewers asks you something, OK?” Brendon said as we were about to enter the hall through the back door. Then he glanced at me. “And you Ryan just smile and answer everything properly but don’t tell them too much about you or about our work. All right, let’s go. The interviewer will be here soon.”
Brendon talked so calmly while I was dying on the inside. I had been prepared for a concert where I was able to take some coke before but I definitely wasn’t able for an interview where I couldn’t even take coke before. I tried to calm myself down because I knew that I had to do this. And how long could an interview take really?
As we entered the backstage hall the interviewer – a young woman – was actually already there smiling at us and I tried to return the smile politely.
“Hello, my name is Rita and I’m supposed to interview you today, right? Should we start?” she said and we all sat down – Rita in front of us, Brendon and I on the two chairs in the first row and Jon and Andy finally on the two chairs that where standing a little bit further away from the interviewer.
Just as I sat down I realized that there was also a camera filming us so the whole interview would probably be broadcasted in the TV and my anxiety grew more and more. I honestly just wanted to cry or I needed some coke or something, anything.
Rita began asking some random questions that were primarily answered by Brendon but then she also asked a question directly addressed to me. “So you`re the infamous Ryan Ross then. “ She started smiling. “How did you actually get into the band? Nobody knows that. Which experiences do you have with music?”
I calmed down. This was an easy question – a question where I really couldn’t say anything wrong. “Right. Brendon and I met a few months ago and developed a friendship. When Dallon had died – unfortunately – the band searched for a replacement but didn’t find anyone fitting. Then one evening Brendon got the idea that I could join the band and I just thought, why not? We played together and it actually fitted really well so that’s how I became a Social Buster.” I laughed because the camera that was now directed at me made me extremely nervous.
“And to answer your other question. I have played the guitar my whole life. I had lessons and I also thought myself and I had always been a pretty good singer too so it is no problem to do the background singing now. But I had actually never been part of a band, that was new.” I finished and could only hope that it would be over now. But of course it wasn’t yet.
“So it must be really difficult for you to play in front of so many people, right? Do you ever have problems with anxiety and what would you advise other people to do then?” The devil continued.
“It was a little bit difficult, yes. But if you are actually standing on the stage you normally forget the people in the crowd. I would advise fans to calm down and as it is always said generally just imagine that the whole crowd is naked.” And take drugs, I added in my head. I squeezed out the words and the interviewer laughed. Apparently that was enough for her. She asked some other question but I didn’t hear them anymore.
The rest of the evening was actually better because after the interview was over I was finally able to take some coke and immediately felt better. The only problem with coke was that the effect didn’t last so long so I often had to take more doses throughout the day.
The concert passed off without any problems and the fans screamed so loud like I’d never heard them scream before. As we left the concert hall eventually I had to sign some things for them. It was weird, seeing pictures of myself that had been taken in photoshoots or somewhere else and signing them.
Fortunately we already left after like ten minutes because we wanted to go to a party. Since we were in our hometown now everybody’s friends and relatives were also here so the band had decided to throw one big party for everybody. This probably wasn’t a good idea – we had to drive about four hours to Boston tomorrow to already give our next concert – but I definitely wouldn’t complain.
The party took place in a really big mansion and I couldn’t even say whom it belonged to. I immediately headed to the bar and all the alcoholic drinks and started drinking.
Music was playing and people were dancing happily. I had never understood how dancing was supposed to be funny because I would normally stand at the bar and watch people.
As I poured in my next drink and already felt the alcohol in my blood I saw that Brendon was dancing with some random woman. They actually seemed to be very close and both of them seemed to have fun. Great, the latter was something I definitely didn’t have.
I took the whole vodka bottle and turned around to watch Brendon with that chick. I realized that they drew closer with every second and just in that second they kissed obviously for the pleasure of both of them. They shortly broke the kiss and Brendon’s eyes locked with mine for just a second but it was obvious now that he wanted to provoke me which actually worked pretty well.
I took another sip of the bottle I was holding in my hands and now definitely felt the effect of the alcohol. Because I drank very frequently I needed more alcohol than a normal person to really get drunk but now I felt that this was going to be the case and it felt pretty amazing. I almost chugged the whole bottle as Brendon continued to kiss this chick.
Nobody noticed me. Nobody saw that the guitarist of the most famous band of the decade was drinking way too much alcohol that night. And nobody saw how he – I – eventually collapsed.

Chapter Text

I woke up in a hospital room and immediately had a deja-vu. It hadn’t been a long time since I’d last been in a hospital. Considering how much I hated the latter it was really inacceptable that this was my second visit in a few months now. Fortunately nobody was in the room so I still had a few moments to just lay there.
Just when I was about to enjoy the silence I heard someone coming in and a few seconds later a doctor was standing in front of me. “Hello Mr. Ross. Finally you’re awake because you really made us worry!” He started telling me. “I think you probably know what brought you here today. The mixture of coke and alcohol is a really bad idea and then in such a high dosage it is actually life-endangering.” The doctor looked at me seriously.
“I guess I will inform your friends now that you are awake.” He added as he wanted to leave the room. I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want that but then he was already gone and I was left alone again.
Just then I realized that there were many flowers, cards and other little gifts on the table and also spreaded on the windowsill. How long had I actually been unconscious? I had no time to think about that anymore because a few seconds later Brendon, Jon and Andy entered the room and I was already afraid of what would follow now.
“This is really serious Ryan!” Brendon started half angry and half worried. “You have to talk to us – you have to do something so you can feel better – but it can’t go on like this. I thought you were dead – again! As I saw you collapsing at the bar and then laying there I actually thought you were fucking dead. What did you do?”
Brendon looked at me and I carefully returned the look but I wasn’t able to say anything. I knew that Brendon felt miserable now – that we all did – but I couldn’t say anything. The words were like stones held just under my tongue and I wasn’t able to release them. It was impossible.
I turned around and was eventually laying there with my back facing my bandmates hoping that they would understand that I wanted to be alone. Eventually I heard them leave and realized that I was finally alone again. I waited some minutes but everything was silent and I slowly put on my clothes and opened the door of my little room.
Nobody was visible in the hallway as I made my way to the elevator and headed downstairs. I also managed the last few stairs until I was finally free again. I quickly glanced back at the hospital but eventually called a cab and drove back to my apartment. I just hated hospitals too much to stay there. Last time it had been different because I had promised Brendon to stay but this time there was no such thing.
The cab stopped in front of my apartment building and I went upstairs which was really exhausting because I was actually really tired even though I had already slept so much. I hated the people in this building for not fixing the elevator which would’ve been so much easier.
I walked the last steps to the fifth floor and was surprised to find Brendon sitting right in front of my apartment. As I came closer I realized that he was sleeping, his head leaning on the door so I really couldn’t get in without waking him up. I studied Brendon Urie while he was sleeping.
His face looked so innocent and relaxed and there was no sign of any mask he – we all – would put on when he was awake. His cheeks were slightly flushed and one strand of hair was laying just next to his eye. Brendon’s hands were folded together as if he was praying. And maybe he had been – I realized that I didn’t know if my bandmate actually was religious. Maybe he had been praying for me.
In this moment I could definitely say that Brendon Urie was the most beautiful human being on this planet. There were just these little things that made him unique – his silent smile that often laid on his face even though there wasn’t really something to laugh about, the way he always looked at me as if I was worth it and how he always cared about me and everyone else. It were the little things that made him special and he was just so beautiful.
Silently Brendon woke up and looked at me so we were looking into each other’s eyes for just a few seconds. “I knew that you would come here eventually because I know how much you hate hospitals. And I can assure you one thing now, I won’t leave until you will finally tell what the hell you took yesterday. What the hell was it, Ryan?” Brendon looked at me seriously and he wore this expression again – this expression that told me that I was worth something.
Anxiously I thought about if he knew something. Had the doctor told him that I had taken coke? I honestly didn’t think so because doctors usually weren’t allowed to say something because of their duty to remain silent.
“I’m sorry.” I eventually said silently because these had been the first words I had spoken since the accident had happened. I realized that I always thought about ‘the accident’ but there had already been so many accidents in my life that it would be impossible to remember all of them soon. First my parents had died, then my foster mother, then this monster had beaten me up, then there were several incidents with drugs and alcohol and now I was here.
I had actually never realized what a great mess my life was before but as I looked at Brendon now this realization hit me like a truck.
“What are you sorry for, Ryan? For collapsing again and making me worried as fuck? For joining the band? Or for meeting me in the first place? Tell me, yeah? And also tell me what the hell did you take yesterday!?” Brendon was now screaming and I realized that this conversation had to happen now. There was no way of escaping it again.
“OK Brendon. We can talk but can we please go inside first before we wake up like half of my neighbors?” I whispered even though that was highly unnecessary because Brendon had screamed before. Brendon nodded but his face was still full of anger.
With shaking hands I opened the door of my apartment and we both got in. It was weird because the last time I had come in here my brother was still talking to me and I wasn’t close to being thrown out of the band. Apparently Brent had come here again sometime today because his whole stuff was gone. But this was another problem I couldn’t deal with just now.
Brendon and I didn’t sit down for obvious reasons and I didn’t even try to offer him a seat. Instead he looked at me expectantly. “I’m sorry for several things Brendon, OK, and it would take too much time listing all of them just now. Also I think you know what I’m sorry for.” I said which was actually the truth. “And I swear to you that I just drank to much like really way too much and I didn’t take any drugs or stuff. Why would you even think that?” This was of course a lie but whom wasn’t I lying to these days.
“I don’t know, Ryan. I honestly don’t know anything about you anymore.” Brendon eventually answered which made me angry. “Yeah right. And what do I actually know about you? I of course know that you are a star but I know nothing personal about you! Do you have any family and where did you actually grew up? What are you hiding from me? Where have you been before you were famous?”
For a second it looked like Brendon would start screaming at me again but he eventually gave in and started talking calmly. “You want to know something about me? Right. I grew up in St. George, Utah, was a member of an LDS family and I actually have four other siblings. When I had been 17 years old I had left the faith because I didn’t believe in its ideology which actually had made my parents really upset. So before I had been famous I had had to work at a coffee shop to be able to pay the rent for our bands practice space. Jon and I had actually been the two founders back then and there were also Kenneth and Nicole actually but as I’ve heard many people say everyone’s already forgotten about them. And then you know, stuff happened and we got famous. But before I had been just a normal buy just like you.”
Brendon finished telling me the story of his life and I couldn’t help but look at him with my mouth wide open. I had expected many things but it was just impossible to imagine that Brendon had once been a Mormon boy. It was so ridiculous that I almost had to laugh – but just almost because I was definitely aware of the seriousness of the situation.
“And now” Brendon added “can you please tell me which drugs you took yesterday?” His look shattered my heart and went directly through my whole body.
“I swear, Brendon, I didn’t take anything. It was just too much alcohol. I actually wanted to drink myself into a coma.” I admitted because at least the last part was true. Brendon looked at me, shocked, because he probably didn’t expect me to say something like that.
“But why would you want that?” He whispered and sat down on my sofa what I also did eventually. “I don’t know. I felt miserable, really really miserable because you had kissed that bitch and everything was just too much and then the alcohol was standing there and it just seemed to be the perfect thing to do.”
Just when the words had already left my mouth I had realized what I had just said. I had just admitted that I had been jealous – that I was jealous – because Brendon had kissed a woman.
For the first time on this day a slight smile appeared on Brendon’s face and even though I was still embarrassed I was also glad that I had spoken the words.
“I can’t believe it” Brendon laughed. “You actually thought that I would have preferred to dance with that woman over dancing with you? That I would have rather kissed that woman than I would kiss you? You are such a stupid idiot, Ryan.”
I was still confused because I didn’t really understand what he meant. “I just wanted to make you jealous, Ryan, and apparently it had worked but not the way I had intended it to work.” Brendon lightly hit me. “Don’t you ever get drunk because of me again. Don’t you dare getting in a life-threatening state again, you stupid idiot!”
His voice broke and as I looked into his eyes I actually saw some tears. “I won’t, I swear.” I quietly said. “And this time I mean it!” Then I remembered something. “What time is it actually?” I asked because I had an idea. Brendon quickly glanced at his watch. “A few minutes after 2pm. Why?” “Because we have a concert to get to.”
***
A few moments later we were sitting in a car – Brendon was driving – on our way to Boston. The concert would start at 7pm and we would approximately need four and a half hours to get to the concert hall.
It actually took convincibility to assure Brendon that I was fine and that I was definitely able to attend the concert. For the first time since we had started the tour I actually felt excitement because of the upcoming show and I didn’t even take coke which meant something.
Even though playing in front of thousands of people would always get me anxious I didn’t feel that anxiety now and I also didn’t want to disappoint all the fans who came to the concert when they would just see Jon and Andy on stage explaining that Brendon and I weren’t there.
Fortunately the car ride passed off without further problems so that we arrived at the concert hall at exactly 6:45pm. Brendon and I quickly got into the backstage area where Jon and Andy looked at me shocked but didn’t say a word because we actually had no time.
We got on stage at exactly 7pm and I smiled – for the first time in a long time it actually was a real smile. “Hello Boston! It’s great to see you all today!” I opened the concert and I meant it. “We will start today’s show with a really special song which means a lot to me because I have some memories of it from the time where I hadn’t been part of this band yet.” I smiled again.
“Ladies and gentleman, we are the Social Busters and this song is called ‘Time To Dance’.” We started playing and I quickly mustered the crowd. Several teenage girls where staring at me and I decided to smile back at them because I just was in the mood to do that. Of course Brendon would always be the band’s main attraction – which was completely understandable because his voice was incredible – but the girls where actually screaming when I smiled at them and it felt oddly great.
Brendon and I quickly exchanged a happy look and continued to play in front of this mass of people.
The concert was over way too quickly in my opinion and I was still smiling as we went backstage to drink something and cool down. “What happened to you, pal?” Jon asked me while he was smiling genuinely. “This has by far been our best concert of the whole tour. I mean everyone was able to feel it, yeah?”
We smiled at each other and I had to agree. This had been the best concert ever. Maybe there was still some hope for me.

Chapter Text

Today was the last day of the US tour leg and the second half of the tour had actually been awesome compared to the first half. I barely had to take coke anymore because something major had changed that night and everybody was able to see that. My bandmates had finally stopped asking me questions and the mood generally was just great.
The last show would actually take place in Las Vegas – my home town and the city I had lived in for more than twenty years. It was weird coming back here after more than two months and not living here anymore. As our tour bus crossed the city boundary many memories appeared – good ones as well as bad ones.
I thought about my parents and how wrong my picture of them actually had been. If I would’ve known that because of me my half-brother was growing up without a father my childhood certainly would’ve been different.
Then I thought about my former self when I still had to work four different jobs and still just could afford a decomposed apartment. And of course I thought about meeting Brendon here and how it had changed my life completely. I realized that I didn’t hate this city but I didn’t love it too.
There had been good moments here but also bad ones. But I guess that was life. There were always good and bad things. One could always hope that the good memories predominated in the end.
I glanced at Brendon who also seemed to be lost in his memories. Right now we were driving in our tour bus because the guys who had planned our tour had always thought about if we should take the plane or the tour bus considering how big the distance between two cities was. The distance between Glendale – the last city where we had given a concert in – and Las Vegas was a four hour car ride which was adequate.
Our tour bus was as fancy as one would imagine a tour bus of a really famous band. From the outside as well as from the inside it was black and there were eight bunks – for the band members as well as for the crew travelling with us even though most of the crew wasn’t here. We barely slept in the tour bus because we had always had a hotel room in every city. But for example when the band would fly with the plane somebody had to drive the bus to another city which was usually someone of the crew and the ride was usually long.
The special thing was probably the extra bedroom at the end of the bus if somebody wanted to fuck privately but to be honest this barely happened because the if somebody fucked it would be in a private hotel room or somewhere else.
Next to the sleeping area was some kind of kitchen area which provided us with many kinds of foods and drinks. I had actually tried to avoid alcohol in the last weeks and I had been semi-successful.
Then, where we were currently sitting in was some kind of living room area with comfortable seats and a table in the middle. We consisted of Brendon, Jon, Andy and me of course and then six crew members who also traveled with us today because many of them lived in Las Vegas too so it was really convenient that we would play here today.
And then there was of course Zack, our driver and manager of everything. It was kind of a funny story because he had actually been the guy who worked in Minneapolis where our first concert had taken place but as we had searched for new crew members he had actually applied and eventually ended up here. I had to admit that I really liked this guy because he had actually a funny side but would also manage everything and stay serious in certain situation.
“Our destination will be reached in ten minutes.” Zack said just as I had thought about him. I looked out of the window again to see all the familiar buildings that felt so alienated now that I didn’t live here anymore.
“It’s weird, isn’t it? Being back here where it all began?” I asked Brendon smiling. We had actually developed a pretty good relationship again in the last weeks. Since the night where Brendon had come to my apartment many things had changed. There were still many unspoken things between us and things actually weren’t the same as they were before we had made out for the first time but I thought they would probably never be again and that was OK.
“Indeed. Can you imagine that like two months ago nobody knew you and now you’re that famous?” my band mate asked me and I really couldn’t. But I had to admit that the thought of being famous didn’t scare me as much anymore as it did like one month ago.
The bus eventually stopped in an uninhabited area that was still located near the concert hall. We had actually all decided that we wanted to sleep in the tour bus because it would be our last concert in the US and Jon and Brendon had become very melancholic because they remembered the old time where they had cruised around America with an old, shabby bus. Plus their first show ever had been here because everybody had lived in Las Vegas at some point.
I inspected the area carefully. Apparently Zack chose a good spot because it was concealed by many trees but still the hall would be easily accessible in a few minutes by foot. But Zack always did a job and even though he was just working for us for a few weeks I was already wondering how we had managed life before him.
We got out of the bus – first the crew members, then Zack and then the Social Busters, Brendon at last. “OK, we have like 3pm right now and the concert starts at 7:30 pm. You will have to give two interviews starting at 4pm and then the sound check starts. I guess we should better get to the concert hall then.” Zack of course always had a plan.
There was already a car waiting for us because it would’ve been too obvious if a bunch of guys would have wandered through the streets with much equipment. We put the stuff we needed for the concert inside the car and got in. The ride lasted just a few minutes because the concert hall was basically just around the next corner.
As we arrived there I had to take the enormous size in again. It was rather an arena then a hall and it was also called like that. I had actually forgotten how big it was because when I had still lived here I had always seen it from afar but I had barely been standing right in front of it.
We got in and deposited our stuff in the backstage area. There were already so many people and sometimes it still was difficult for me to realize that they were all just here because of us – because of our band.
The people of the mask were already ready to do our make up for the interview. This had been a routine process in the last weeks which we had neglected in the first half of our tour but since Zack was here he had told us how important it was. At first I had hated wearing make-up but now I actually had gotten used to it and even liked putting on some crazy stuff on my face sometimes.
After our make-up was completed and our looks perfected for the upcoming interviews it was already about time to go into the arena where the interview would actually take place on the stage.
Andy, Jon, Brendon and I got to the stage where our interviewer was already waiting. It was a young woman again but it almost always was if I had to be honest. She introduced herself as Amy Smith and we all sat down to start the interview. Again there were some random questions first that mainly Brendon would answer but eventually she also asked questions directed to the other band members.
“Ryan, I hope it’s not too inappropriate to ask that, but there are many fans who had been wondering what had happened to you. We all noticed that you had been a little bit off until the Boston show but starting with said show it seems that you had become a completely different person. How is that?” Amy asked and I already knew that question and had a standard answer.
“That may be true, Amy, because to be honest I had had some problems at the beginning but everything is OK now and I actually feel really confident on stage.” I said smiling politely. At first it had been weird to give interviews in front of a camera that several people would see in the TV but at this point I had already figured out how it worked.
“There are some rumors – how may I say that – that say that you had apparently passed out on a party after the show in New York was played. And these rumors also say that there were drugs and much alcohol involved. Do you want to give a statement about that?” Amy continued as I tried to stay calm. I hated journalists. They were all the same because first they were always playing nice and a few seconds later they were undermining you with questions that would take your breath away.
I carefully kept the polite smile on my face while answering. “My statement is that there had never been such an incident. The people who are telling these rumors probably just want some attention but I can assure you that I never took drugs in my whole life.” My smile stayed the whole time and I was actually really proud because of that. I had actually become a perfect celebrity at this point.
The interviewer didn’t ask me further question and soon the first interview was over. The second interview passed off shortly afterwards and similar questions were asked. It was always the same but it was good like that.
“I think you’re actually better than Brendon now at concealing your emotions.” Jon told me after the interviews were over. You know one time at the very beginning of our career Brendon had screamed at an interviewer because they had asked him if he had a girlfriend. I will never forget that iconic moment.” Jon laughed.
“Jon, I was barely eighteen then!” Brendon defended himself but was actually also laughing. Sometimes I forgot how young both of them where when they had started this band. They had still been in high school and actually got famous when they had to write their exams.
Laughing we went back to the mask room. In the second half of the tour – when everything had changed – I had actually development a liking in painting my face with crazy patterns and colors. Sometimes I would also do something on Brendon’s face because the fans loved that.
Today I wanted to do a rather simple look and first drew an eyeliner on my upper lid. Then I drew some black strokes with a kajal under my right eye. On the left side I took the same kajal and circuited a greater area under my eye and also on my lid so it had some kind of a fire like shape. But then I took a silvery makeup and painted the free area under my left eye with it. Lastly I also took some glittering silver eyeshadow and put that on my lid.
I kind of liked how it turned out in the end. When I was done I put on my rose vest that my fans loved so much. It kind of had become my favorite clothing item onstage. The only disadvantage was that it was really hot in it and I didn’t want to imagine how it would be in the summer when we would play an open air concert.
Soon we were all ready to go on stage. But first we had to complete the sound check back stage. Everybody was in a really good mood today because the first leg of the tour was almost over and we almost did it. The fact that I was playing in my home town intensified the feeling.
We did the sound check and when everything was OK we were finally allowed to go on stage. I took my usual position on Brendon’s right side while Jon went to the left side and Andy was somewhere behind us, I never really noticed.
The arena was overcrowded but at this moment I had already become used to that. “Hello, Las Vegas.” I screamed into the microphone as the fans finally became silent. Since the concert in Boston I had always been the one to talk at the beginning or in between the songs because I liked it.
“It’s really great to be here today. You may not know this but Las Vegas is actually my home town and I have lived here for more than twenty years as well as everyone else has lived here at some point. This city has brought us together and I will be eternally grateful for that. It’s great to be back!” The fans were screaming so I took a short break.
“We are the Social Busters and our first song will be ‘Crazy = Genius’.” I finished and we started playing.
If crazy equals genius (hey)
You can set yourself on fire (hey ay)
But you're never gonna burn, burn, burn (hey ay)
You can set yourself on fire (hey ay)
But you're never gonna learn, learn, learn hey!
We all sang and it was amazing. Every time I was again overwhelmed by the resonance we would get of the fans. Through the whole tour Brendon and I had created a little ritual where I would come over to him and we would sing just through his microphone and in this moment I would always feel as crazy as mentioned in the song.
The song ended and the lead singer and I smiled at each other and the show went on. When it was over we quickly went into the backstage area to calm down a little bit. But soon Zack called us because we had to go out and sign stuff from fans. This had always been my least favorite part of everything because some fans were way too obtrusive then.
We quickly signed some stuff and eventually made our way back to the tour bus with the same car we had come here before. It wasn’t really conspicuous so fortunately nobody followed us as we reached our tour bus. I was pretty exhausted because touring meant having a concert every or at least every second day and not sleeping much because of parties and other stuff.
“Andy and I wanted to go to this party. The crew will join us too. Do you also want to come?” Jon asked Brendon and me as we were calming down in the living room area. Brendon and I exchanged a quick look and we nonverbaly decided that we didn’t want to go. I’d had enough parties for some time and the last ones I’d attended had always ended bad.
“Thanks Jon but I think we will just stay here and relax a little bit today. I’m actually pretty exhausted, like for real I need to sleep.” I eventually said looking at my band mate apologetically. “No problem Ryan. But if you guys still want to come I’m going to write down the address here and leave it on the table.” Jon looked at us one last time and then Andy and he eventually left.
Brendon and I were alone again and I could immediately feel this weird silence between us which I hadn’t felt in a long time. We looked at each other but something was still different this time. It felt like the sexual tension between us that existed for such a long time now wouldn’t be able to be kept back today. The fact that this had been the last show of the US leg, the fact that we were in the city we’d met, the fact that we were alone in a big tour bus with a bed available – it was just too much.
We almost ran into the bedroom and I quickly inspected it. Basically there was really just the bed filling out the whole room. But then I looked at my bandmate again and I couldn’t control myself any longer.
Probably for the first time I was the one who really initiated the kiss. My lips met his and it was just so messy and completely fucked up but wonderful. This was no innocent kiss, no this was an ‘I want to fuck you’ kiss and we both knew that.
My tongue pushed into his mouth and Brendon groaned, deep and filthy. Soon after Brendon’s and my clothes were laying in a corner – messy and left-behind. Now both of us were just wearing our underwear and even though I’d’ve expected it to be it wasn’t weird at all. How was something like this supposed to be wrong and unnatural?
Slowly I pushed down his boxer shorts and revealed his hard cock which was almost screaming to finally be touched. I also undressed myself and then we were both naked. I inspected every last bit of his body and realized that he had some tattoos I’d never seen before because they were well hidden.
Brendon looked at me – completely serious – there was nothing funny about this situation. “I’ve never done this before.” He eventually said, voice quietly and croaking. “Me neither.” I answered but there were no more words needed because I instinctively knew what I had to do. Because it would be the first time with another man for both of us it was something special.
I knew that this wouldn’t be a light fuck and was already sorry because Brendon probably wouldn’t be able to walk tomorrow. But my desire was so great that the latter was heavier than my bad conscience.
I cupped Brendon’s ass, reaching further until my fingers found the place where they would disappear into his body. It was weird first, but just for a slight second and then it felt like it was the most normal thing in the world. I spat on my fingers because we obviously had no lube here or something and then entered his body again.
After a few seconds I slowly started to move my fingers inside of him. First two, than three and eventually four. I stretched him and his facial expression told me that he really enjoyed that. I was pretty sure that the first time would hurt as hell but I knew – we both knew – that we wanted that. We needed that right now.
“Ready?” I eventually asked when I felt like I’d stretched him enough – breathing heavily while my voice almost faded.
He looked at me, completely trusting me while my fingers were still inside him. “Ready when you are.” He returned and I had to smile. I had wanted this for such a long time but actually would’ve never admitted it. I had thought that I could control myself but now I had reached the point where I couldn’t any longer.
My cock was vibrating expectantly because of what was about to happen and then I pushed inside him. Slowly first and carefully because I could hear his screams because of the pain. I felt bad but knew that I had to continue in order for it to turn better. He was so fucking tight and I was so fucking horny but I tried to control myself
I slowly pushed inside him again while the screams slowly turned into moans of joy – or at least I hoped so. “Are you OK?” I somehow managed to ask to assure myself that everything was fine. Everything was more than fine actually.
“DON’T STOP!” Brendon screamed and I almost had to laugh because of how desperate his voice had sounded. But then I knew that this wasn’t a situation to laugh because I felt completely the same.
I continued to push my cock into his arsehole, deeper now, much much deeper and slowly losing the control over what I was doing. “Ryan, that’s it. That’s it. I SWEAR IF YOU STOP NOW I’M GOING TO KILL YOU!” My bandmate screamed but I knew that I couldn’t stop myself even if I wanted to.
I’d fucked women before but this was completely different. I didn’t even know that something like this was possible. While women always wanted some kind of foreplay and light sex I was actually almost raping Brendon right now but he didn’t care. We both didn’t care because the pleasure was much bigger than the pain.
I could feel that I would soon reach my climax while I kept thrusting into his body uncontrolled, almost like an animal. This wasn’t about making love or something, this was just about reaching the climax and satisfaction after all this time where the sexual tension had time to develop between us.
I could feel Brendon’s orgasm before he actually came a few seconds later because his muscles tightened around my cock which was probably the most amazing feeling in the world. Knowing that I was the one who created such feelings inside him – that I was the one who would make him come now – seeing Brendon touch himself – made me reach my climax almost in the same moment as Brendon reached his.
We moaned together not caring about who could hear us and what consequences this could have because I was probably just having the best orgasm of my life. As I saw the semen exploding from Brendon’s cock I honestly just wanted to do this all over again.
The last waves of our orgasms ebbed away and we were both breathing heavy. I quickly removed my cock from Brendon’s arsehole which made him moan shortly and I was hard again. But I knew that this was probably enough for the first time and that he would be in pain tomorrow.
“That was…” I started as we both laid down next to each other but didn’t know which words would actually justify what I had just felt. Brendon turned over and looked at me – smiling, satisfied, and beautiful. “I know.” He eventually said and I knew that there were no more words needed.
I kissed him again – kissed him like I would die if I didn’t – kissed him like he was my last hope – and maybe he was. Brendon had been the one who had enabled me a whole new life and even though I had hated it first I was now incredibly grateful for that.
I just wanted to say something else as I heard how someone opened and then closed the door of the bus. We both got dressed as quickly as we could and just when we had finished Jon came in, looking confused.
“I just forgot my purse.” He started mustering us exactly. “Why are you two in here? And why does it smell like sex?” Brendon and I exchanged a quick look and almost had to start laughing.
“Brendon and I just thought that it would be more comfortable to sleep in a real bed since nobody else was here and it was free.” I started to create an excuse. “And about the sex thing, I guess one of the crew members has had sex in here before.” I tried to say as casually as possible.
“Right. Then I guess I’ll let you continue to sleep here.” Our band mate said skeptically and then finally left the room. When we were alone again Brendon and I couldn’t help ourselves any longer and started laughing like sixteen year old teenage girls – and it was the best I’d ever felt in my whole life.

Chapter Text

“Hey Ryan. Where are your razor blades?” Brendon asked me glancing through the bathroom door. We were currently in my apartment enjoying the Christmas break that would last one more week. Today was the 31st December 1965 and the New Year would start soon. Jon, Andy, Brendon, I and some other people would have a party in my apartment because we all didn’t want to join a really big party. I could just hope that nothing major would happen there.
“They’re in the middle drawer. You should see them when you open it.” I eventually answered smiling at him. Brendon got back to the bathroom and started shaving himself. In the course of the last weeks we had developed an amazing sex relationship. Neither of us was in love with each other but we just couldn’t stop having sex because it actually was amazing.
Still I wouldn’t identify myself as gay because I couldn’t imagine a relationship with a man and there was also the fact that we were living in the 60s and that we were both in the most famous band right now. I still loved women and would only be in a relationship with them, surely nobody would judge me for having a little fun with Brendon then.
A few minutes later Brendon came back to the bedroom, his little beard now completely gone. “I actually liked the beard you had grown there.” I teasingly said as he stood in front of the wardrobe - we had actually agreed that it would be easier if he would bring some of his clothes here.
He turned around grinning. “Yeah, did this make you horny?” He said with a dirty smile. “Do you want to fuck me when I have a beard.” He continued teasing me. "I do.” I returned teasing him back. I’d actually never imagined that I would talk like that to another guy but I knew that it didn’t mean anything and because of that it was really hot.
Brendon attempted to undress me but I softly stopped him. “Not now, Bren, the others will be here in like” I glanced at the watch “Fuck, the others will be here in like ten minutes and I’m not even dressed!” I eventually screamed. The next ten minutes we prepared ourselves and the apartment for guests as well as it was possible in such a short time.
Jon and his wife were the first ones to arrive. I quickly ran into the kitchen because I had prepared Mac’n’Cheese before which wasn’t a fancy dinner but it was OK for everyone because neither of us was used to eating something fancy since we all were miserable cooks. Next Spencer and Linda arrived together with Andy and Meredith and lastly Zack also came what meant that we were finally complete.
As we all sat down it was already 9:30pm and the food was probably already cold. “I quickly wanted to say something.” I started and everybody got silent. “I just wanted to thank everybody for coming here today. The last year has been though definitely but also amazing. And I definitely have to think this guy here next to me.” Brendon was sitting next to me. “Because of Brendon my life has completely changed and he because of him I also learned so many new things.” Like fucking guys. “Also, if it hadn’t been for Brendon I never would’ve met you guys, well excluding Spencer and Linda because Spencer is my best friends since we were little. So, to friendship and to love. May 1966 be a great year for all of us!”
As I finished everyone was clapping and we finally started to eat. We talked about random things, about how the tour would go on in a week and I was really happy because all the people I liked were around me.
“Guys, I also wanted to tell you something. This will probably be a shock now but I’m actually going to leave the band. Don’t worry, I’m going to stay until you will find a new member but the thing is…” Andy stopped looking at Jon first, then at me and finally at Brendon. “Brendon, you know Pete, right? And you know that I already know him for a really long time – even longer than I know you guys. So he told me recently that he had founded a band with two other guys and that they still need a drummer. I’m really sorry but Pete is like my oldest friend and I had always promised him that we would be in a band together one day.”
That certainly was a shock for everybody but mostly for Brendon – this was now the second member he would lose in the course of just a few months. Nobody said a word for a few moments but eventually the lead singer started talking. “Wow, Andy, that certainly is a shock but I can really understand that. Don’t worry, we will find a new drummer I think.” My fuck partner said and it was obvious that he didn’t mean it really.
Andy looked sad but eventually said down and we continued eating in silence. I just wanted to offer something for dessert just when my best friend started talking. “OK, this may sound crazy too” Spencer started and I waited for another revelation “But why don’t I join the band? I’m actually a great drummer, Ryan knows that because we used to play together when we were younger and I think that I could manage that. I also know all of your songs plus I work in the music industry myself so I already know how things are there myself.” I looked at Spencer astonished because I had expected everything but that.
Brendon quickly glanced at me first but eventually smiled. “Great. Let’s play together sometime but I guess you are already an unofficial member of the band now because I trust Ryan and if he thinks that you’re a good drummer I think so too.” The lead singer looked at me smiling because even though he may have lost a band member now he gained another one on the same evening.
I just wanted to say that I hadn’t said anything about Spencer being a good drummer but decided that I would just let everyone be happy because in the end I thought so too. I glanced at my best friend now who smiled so genuinely that I just couldn’t help myself but smile back at him. I couldn’t believe that after all these years we had been best friends now we would finally realize our biggest dream and be in a band together.
“Guys there are just ten minutes left until it’s 1966!” Jon interrupted our little moment. We all got on the balcony quickly to see the fireworks that would start in a few minutes. I realized everybody was cuddling right now just Zack, Brendon and I were standing awkwardly next to the couples.
The fireworks already started a few minutes too early because apparently there were always people who couldn’t wait any longer. Eventually the countdown started and I got kind of excited because a new year was about to start and I was still part of the most famous band at the moment.
“10.” Meredith said and I thought about all of the hair colors she had in the last few months. Currently it was green.
“9.” Andy continued and I wished him luck for the upcoming time when he would join a new band.
“8.” Said Cassie next and I thought about how lovely Jon and she always were together.
“7.” Next was Jon and I thought about what a good friend he had become in the last months and that I should be such a great friend too.
“6.” Zack continued as I internally praised him for his good work but realized that he also had become a good friend meanwhile.
“5.” Linda said next and I thought about the first time I had met her and how I had immediately liked her because she was always so positive.
“4.” Spencer said and I remembered all the years we already knew each other and thanked whomever that we were still friends.
“3.” I eventually said thinking about the last year and about the fact that it had probably been the best and worst year of my life.
“2.” It was Brendon’s turn and I remembered the first time we had kissed insecure and shy back then.
“1.” We said all together and then it was the year 1966.
And then Andy kissed Meredith and Jon kissed Cassie and Spencer kissed Linda and I kissed Brendon passionately and realized too late what I had just done as everybody was staring at Brendon and me with their mouths open.
***
“What the fuck, dude?” Spencer was the first one who said something because everybody including myself and especially Brendon were still in shock. I wanted to escape in the ground – I wanted to go away because I knew that there wouldn’t be a good explanation for what I just did.
Nobody would just kiss another guy randomly nowadays and if somebody did the person was immediately declared to be gay. But I wasn’t gay – I knew that and Brendon knew that and everybody else should have known that too.
“Apparently somebody felt extremely lonely there. Yeah, what the fuck, Ryan? You can’t just kiss me.” Brendon started spinning our excuse. One half of me wanted to punch him because he made me look like a horny guy who didn’t get laid for way too long while the other half just wanted to kiss him again because he had actually said something.
“Uh, I’m sorry. But as Brendon said I kind of felt excluded and thought that kissing just anybody might had been a good idea.” I continued to tell our tale. The others still looked at us skeptically while Zack said: “And what about me? I was also standing there?” but everybody ignored that.
“I don’t believe you.” Jon finally said still skeptically. “You two have been acting weird for weeks now and now this… you two have a secret, definitely!” Jon’s intensive look almost burned my own eyes out and I felt like he exactly knew what was going on here.
“Actually I have to go to the bathroom now.” Brendon chimed in and did as he had said. I couldn’t believe that he was actually leaving me alone in a situation like this. Helplessly I was standing there like a complete idiot.
“Ryan, you are my best friend so tell my immediately what the fuck is going on here?” Spencer eventually said because he knew that mentioning that he was my best friend always made me feel bad when I was lying. I hated him for doing this but I also understood it.
“It’s nothing really. It was just a stupid kiss. I thought it would be funny because it’s New Year’s Eve, OK?” I almost screamed finally shutting everybody up. Apparently they had all noticed that I wouldn’t say another word but I felt like nobody was actually believing me.
We got back to the living but the great mood from before had been destroyed now. The people started to leave because it wasn’t a great party anymore so that only Jon, his wife and I were left behind. Just then I realized that Brendon had actually been in the toilet for like half an hour and still hadn’t come out yet.
I stood up to knock at the bathroom door but then the latter opened and Brendon was standing in front of me – looking furiously. At first I didn’t understand why he was so angry because of course the situation earlier had been embarrassing but it was nothing to get as angry about as he was now.
Some seconds passed – seconds in which I didn’t realize that my whole life was about to change again but not for the better and already on the first day of the year. Eventually Brendon held up something and when he screamed “YOU FUCKING LIAR, RYAN!” I knew that it was the package with the coke I had so well hidden in my bathroom.
***
I left the plane and a wave of heat hit me like a truck. As stupid as I was I had completely forgotten that it was summer here in Sydney and I was still wearing my coat. Drops of sweat ran down my face as I threw it away into the car that was already standing in front of the plane.
The flight from New York to Australia had been absolutely exhausting. It had been about ten hours from New York City to Hawaii where we had taken a short break for a few hours and then another eleven hours from Hawaii to Sydney where we were now. I felt absolutely weird because first there was the fact that it was winter on the majority of the world while it was the sunniest summer here. And second there was this enormous time difference and I already felt that I would have an enormous jetlag soon.
I didn’t even know what time it was here but it was in the middle of the day here while it probably was in the middle of the night back in New York. But I definitely knew that I had been awake for at least twenty four hours and that was definitely too much. I was extremely grateful that we had a day of today so our first concert of the Oceania leg would actually take place tomorrow.
Nobody said a word while we sat in the limousine and were driving on the highway. Firstly everybody was tired as hell and secondly everybody was looking out of the window too and inspecting the people laying on the beaches carelessly.
Also Brendon barely talked to me anymore right now since he had found out that I had actually taken coke when I had passed out in New York. I had attempted to talk to him many times but it hadn’t changed anything in the end so I had eventually given up.
I guessed that the only reason why I was still in the band was probably because he didn’t want to lose another member and finding a new guitarist was probably not so easy.
Zack drove the limousine on the highway which was directly located next to the beach the whole time so we were able to watch the sea. We actually didn’t have a tour bus here because it would’ve been really unnecessary since we would only play a few shows here but I was fine with that.
I remembered the day when we flew to Minneapolis to play our first show. Back then I had felt pretty similar to how I was feeling now and I hated that certain events would make me feel so miserable. Even though one part of me was still excited to see the crowd today because – excluding the two stops in Toronto and Vancouver – today was actually the first time that we would play in a foreign country and so extremely far away from home.
The car immediately came to a stop and on our right side a fancy looking hotel was visible. By this time I didn’t know any more in how many of them I had already stayed but they were actually all the same. People would pay so much money just because the building was more modern, the selection of food and other services more wide and the furnishing more elegant.
In my opinion this was completely unnecessary and I would’ve rather stayed in a tour bus or somewhere else but I knew that I couldn’t because this was probably the safest place and fans wouldn’t reach us that easy.
“OK guys” Zack started his usual speech as we got out of the car. He always seemed to have a plan of everything and I wondered if this was also the case when it was about his private life. “You know that it’s your day off today. Do what you want but don’t do anything that would threaten your life so you may not be able to attend the concert tomorrow” Zack obviously looked at me when he had said the latter. “I guess it’s everybody’s first time in Sidney so I would suggest a city tour which we could attend together if you want that.”
Everybody nodded so I did that too eventually. I wondered how I was supposed to survive this day since I was extremely tired and just wanted to sleep. Zack quickly glanced in his notebook. “OK, we will first check in and drop the baggage in the rooms and the next tour starts in two hours so you still have a little time to rest.” Zack looked at us expectantly and we did as he said.
Sometimes I felt like he was our teacher and we were his students who were constantly on a class trip and had to follow the teacher’s instruction. The lobby looked fancy – of course – and as the woman on the counter smiled at us politely I actually thought about killing her because I couldn’t stand that much positivity right now and if she was dead she at least couldn’t smile anymore.
We checked in and fortunately everybody got a single room which I appreciated very much. I took a look at my key and realized that my room was actually located in the fifth floor. I thought about carrying my luggage all these stairs into the fifth floor and I wanted to die.
“Don’t look like a psychopath, Ryan. There’s actually an elevator and unlike in your apartment it works.” Spencer laughed at me as he had seen my facial expression. And then I realized that there was really an elevator just a few steps ahead of me. I laughed because sometimes I was really blind.
My best friend and I both got into the elevator while Brendon and Jon fortunately went into another direction. I pressed the button with the number ‘5’ on it and we slowly drove upstairs. “You have to talk to him sooner or later.” Spencer started talking and I quickly glanced at my best friend. I didn’t know what he knew exactly. Unfortunately Jon had definitely found out about us that evening because when he and Cassie had been the only ones left he had confronted us and eventually told us that he knew.
I felt like since that evening one week ago there had been a split between us. While Jon was on Brendon’s side – because it was unacceptable to lie to someone and then fuck them – Spencer still remained on my side but I actually felt like he just did that because I was his best friend and he wanted to stay loyal to me and not because he actually was OK with what I had done.
The elevator eventually came to a stop and the doors opened slowly. “Which room are you in?” I asked my best friend as we stood in front of it. Spencer quickly glanced at his key. “507. And you?” I looked at my key too. “506. I guess we’re neighbors today.” For a short moment we smiled at each other even though it was different than it had been usually.
We turned right to search our rooms which we eventually found at the end of the hallway. I took my key to open my door and Spencer did the same but eventually we both stopped.
“Do you maybe want to come over?” I asked quietly as I slowly turned around to face my best friend again. Spencer’s smile widened again. “Sure. I’m just going to put the luggage in my room and stuff.” And then he was gone. I went into my own room and quickly analyzed it but it was always the same anyways. I didn’t care anymore how a hotel room looked.
I placed my trunk and my bag next to the bed and sat down on the latter. I was just so tired and the bed was so cozy so I decided to quickly lay down for a second just until Spencer would come over. My head had barely reached the pillow when I was already asleep.
I woke up because something light shone into my eye. A few seconds later I realized that this was the sun which was shining through the window because I didn’t close the curtains yesterday. I quickly glanced at the watch and realized that it was 5:30 pm which again meant that I had slept like fourteen hours.
Before I had started taking drug again I had always slept like seven or eight hours and I hadn’t even been able to sleep longer but now I was apparently able to sleep through the whole the which was absolutely insane.
Just a few seconds later I realized what a complete idiot I had been yesterday. Frist I had told Spencer to come over and then I didn’t even open the door. Now he probably thought that I had neglected him and I hated this. I hated everything right now. This year had supposed to be better than the last one and now it was only the fifth day and I had already lost my lover, probably my best friend and the rest of the band which left Jon.
I decided to call the room service because I had no desire to go down and because I already was in a luxury hotel I guessed that I could exploit that and make people work so early. I ordered almost everything that was available and then waited. After about twenty minutes somebody finally knocked on my door. I paid the man who brought me my royal breakfast and eventually sat down on the table.
Because my window was located in the fifth floor I actually had a breathtaking view over the city and at the horizon I was able to see a tiny bit of the Pacific Ocean that glistened in the morning sun. Even though it was really early there were already some early birds running around through the streets who enjoyed the fresh air of the morning.
I opened one window to aerate the room properly and started eating all the delicious stuff – bagels, scrambled eggs, fruits, pancakes and chocolate spread. I had just finished eating when I heard that someone was knocking at my door again. Confused I glanced at the watch. It was 6:15am now and I doubted that anyone of the guys would already be awake now.
Curiously I opened the door and couldn’t believe which person was standing right in front of me. I’d’ve expected anybody but when I saw Gerard Way standing in front me I actually thought I’d be dreaming.
“Surprised to see me, bitch?” The man who was ten years older than me said laughing. I still wasn’t in a state to talk properly. What the hell was the older brother of my former best friend doing here? I actually hadn’t seen Mikey for a really long time and didn’t plan to see him again after what he’d said.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I eventually was able to ask. “I guess you’re not the only one who got a little bit famous meanwhile.” Gerard said laughing. “I have actually also joined a band in what Frank – a friend of mine – is a member but their singer didn’t want to be in it anymore so here I am, lead singer of Rage Against The Death.”
“You sing?” I almost screamed because I didn’t know that. But then what did I know about this guy. Gerard slowly nodded. “We’re actually here because we’re your support act. I heard that you became pretty famous now, right? Anyways, do you want to meet the rest of my band?” I slowly nodded because I wasn’t able to do anything else to be honest.
I took my key and Gerard led me through the hotel to a room on the third floor where voices where already audible from the outside. “We actually just arrived here to be honest so that’s why everybody is awake.” The older man told me shortly before he opened the door.
“Ryan, these are Frank, Ray and Bob.” He introduced his bandmates to me. “Wow, this is actually Ryan Ross.” The guy called Frank said joyfully and I felt weird because for the first time somebody who was actually older than me was admiring me.
Gerard looked at Frank, laughing. Then he continued to talk. “And you already know my brother, of course.” He added and just then I realized that Mikey Way was also standing in this room, just turning around.
Shocked I first looked at my former best friend and then at his brother. What had happened between them? I actually just remembered that they had had several fights and that Mikey had always called Gerard a faggot so I couldn’t understand how they were now in the same band and getting along apparently fine.
Suddenly Mikey came near me and did something completely unusual – he hugged me. I just stood there with my arms hanging down for a few seconds but eventually returned the hug. “It’s great to see you, Ryan.” My former best friend whispered into my ear.
I didn’t know yet if I was in a position to say the same.

Chapter Text

“Guys, these are Rage Against The Death.” I introduced Gerard and his bandmates to my own bandmates which we had just met in the lobby. “They’ll be our support act for the next time.” I added but I didn’t mention that I had already known two of the members before.
Spencer looked at me – shocked – because as me he also hadn’t thought that he would see Mikey ever again. To my relief he didn’t mention anything towards Brendon and Jon.
“Nice to meet you.” Brendon eventually said wearing his polite smile. He looked tired as if he had barely slept and I instantly wondered what he had done yesterday. Our glances met just for a slight second but I was able to see so many emotions in his face – anger, sadness, regret. Was the latter because of me, because we had started this thing in the first place?
I quickly concentrated on something else because I couldn’t think about Brendon in this moment – not when eight people including him where standing right next to me. “Shall we go then?” I eventually asked everybody because it was already like 2 pm and the concert would start at 8 pm – for Gerard’s band even one hour earlier because they were the support act.
We made our way through the back entrance out of the building all wearing sunglasses – not just because of the eventual fans but this time also because of the crazy sun. It was already like 95 degrees here and I definitely wasn’t used to that – especially not when it was winter in New York.
I already felt a terrible headache coming when we got into the two cars that would bring us to the concert arena that was located at the other side of the city. As I had already done the day before I started to glance at the people which crossed our path and had a look into the happy faces – at least most of them where happy.
There were many surfers or generally people who would go to the beach and enjoy their day there. It was obvious that they were all having the times of their lives. But then there were also some people like me who were just because of their job, their family, their live in general and who didn’t enjoy the sunshine.
I personally had never liked summer very much because the heat was just disgusting and as long as one couldn’t be at the beach the whole time I had never got the summer vibe until now. I longingly glanced at the beach and at the great ocean that appeared as we were driving on the highway and admired the great width of the latter.
But then we were driving into the city again and the beach was gone. The Arena was already visible from afar because it was really big but I wouldn’t have expected anything else at this point. We quickly got into the backstage area where the crew was already preparing everything for the evening.
Zack was about to give his usual speech to tell us what everybody had to do in the following hours. “OK, Rage Against The Death you will already go to the mask area and get ready. And you guys” he glanced at Brendon, Spencer, Jon and me “Brendon, Spencer and Jon, you can already do the sound check as long as the stage is still free.” Brendon looked as astonished as me because normally we wouldn’t do the sound check this early.
“And what about Ryan?” he asked and I realized that it had probably been the first time since one week that he had taken my name into his mouth. “Ryan has other responsibilities right now.” Zack eventually said and I was already afraid of what he was going to say next.
“Ryan, you are really our problem child now, aren’t you?” The manager started but it probably was a rhetorical question and I didn’t answer. “I’m afraid that I have to ask you to allow me to scan you for stuff. This may sound really bad now but it’s really just for the best for the whole band because there can’t be anymore incidents!” Zack looked at me apologetically but I had already expected something like this so I just nodded carelessly.
The manager looked at me surprised for a moment because he had obviously expected more resistance from my side but then he started to scan my pockets and have a look under my clothes. When he couldn’t find anything he smiled pleased. “Thank you, Ryan. And before I forget it. One newspaper had especially asked for you to give them a single interview and it’s about to start in a few minutes in the meeting room.” And with that words the manager turned around and left me alone in the entrance hall.
I quickly got into the toilet what was not a crime itself but as I locked up the door I was going to commit a crime. Zack may hadn’t found it before but I had actually hidden the coke really well. When we had still been in New York I thought about a way to hide the drugs and eventually got the idea to sew a little extra pocket in the cock area of my trousers. Zack of course wouldn’t take a look there because it was really weird in the first place and he also probably hadn’t thought about the fact that I would expect such a scan and that I may have taken precautionary moves.
I quickly snorted the coked which was just a random activity at this point and carefully removed all the traces of drugs. I heard someone come into the bathroom and got out of the toilet as casually as possible. Mikey Way was standing in front of me wearing a skeptical glance.
“What are you doing here?” he eventually asked mustering me. “Going to the toilet. Or is that already a crime nowadays?” Mikey sighed. “I guess not.” He looked at me apologetically but I felt like he wasn’t just sorry for this moment but also for more things.
“Look Ryan, I’m sorry about the shit I used to talk around you. You know about Gerard and how I had always discriminated other people and stuff. I can assure you that I am not this kind of person anymore and that I actually get along with my brother very well now but I can of course understand if you don’t want to see me.” Now I was the one to look at him skeptically because I hadn’t expected such an apology.
“No I really mean it, OK? Gerard and I had talked for a really long time and I came to realize that he is just as he is and that he won’t be able to change that and I really am okay with that now.” Mikey again dared to glance at me and I still couldn’t believe what he had just said.
“And why would I care what you think about homosexual people? I’m not one of them, OK?” I eventually answered. “Of course not, Ryan, but you just always seemed to be really upset when I had discriminated other people in general – no matter whom exactly – and I just thought you would care.”
I knew that I couldn’t forgive Mikey – at least not now – because he would still have to prove me that he meant everything he just said but it was a beginning and one tiny part of me was actually happy to talk to him again.
“There’s something else I have to tell you.” He continued talking and I was sure that nothing was going to shock me so soon. “This may be a shock now because everybody whom I had told that now had told me that I wouldn’t be the guy to do something like that but I actually got married.” OK, I had been wrong. This actually shocked me even more than I would’ve admitted. And of course I did the thing that was most inappropriate in such a situation: I started laughing like an idiot. Had I mentioned before that I had the talent to always laugh in the most unfitting moments?
Mikey looked at me confused but eventually started laughing too what made the situation even more funny and my laughter started to became uglier and uglier with every second. The coke probably intensified feelings but I tried to conceal it. If anybody would find out that I was still taking the drugs I didn’t know what they would do then.
We eventually stopped laughing and it got weird because here we were – two best friends who hadn’t spoken to each other in months and didn’t know anything about each other anymore – but still had had a laugh attack just a few seconds before.
“OK, this reaction is actually new.” Mikey eventually said still smiling. “Many people had actually been mad because we didn’t invite them – because Kristin and I wanted to have a spontaneous wedding without anybody – but I guess that you were probably mad at me or something because we haven’t talked in months now.” Mikey wanted to say something else but I quickly interrupted him.
“Kristin? You married Kristin?” I almost screamed. “Yeah. Who else?” I though about Kristin who had been Mikey’s girlfriend for about one year but I would’ve never thought that they would marry each other because they’d both never appeared to be the kind of people for weddings.
“I don’t know.” I eventually said. “It’s just… weird.” “Everything is weird now, Ryan. Everything has changed. I mean look at you! You are now probably the most famous guitarist of the decade and I guess then it’s less weird that I’m married now because look at where you have been just one year ago.”
I had to agree in some way because Mikey was right but I didn’t want to tell him so. “When did you actually get married? And when did you get into the band?” I asked changing the topic. “I mean it’s not extremely long since we’ve seen each other and you have also changed very much.”
“I just got married before we flew here. Kristin and I just wanted to do it because – you know – we belong to each other and it may be a little bit abrupt but I don’t care honestly. I had never imagined that I would be the guy to marry somebody – as anyone else said too – but that was until I met this woman. Honestly it’s amazing how much one person can change you for the better. I really hope that you’ll meet such a woman too soon.” Yeah right.
“And I got in the band like two months ago. It had been about at the same time when your tour had started and I knew that I wanted something like that too. And then Gerard got into the band and they’d still needed someone and it just fitted.” Mikey finished and I still couldn’t believe that he was really here. We were so far away from home and would meet here in Australia. But then I realized that we were not living in the same city anymore since I had moved to New York and Mikey was still living in Las Vegas and this thought kind of made me sad.
“That’s crazy.” I said and I meant everything. The fact that I was in a band, the fact that I was sneaking into bathrooms to take coke, the fact that Spencer got into my band too and the fact that Mikey and his brother got into another one – everything was crazy and if somebody would’ve told me about that a few months ago I wouldn’t have believed it. But here we were now.
“Yeah it is.” Mikey nodded. “Listen, I have to get back or the others will miss me otherwise but it was really great talking to you, Ryan.” I nodded and just a few seconds later he was gone and I was left alone in the bathroom. I knew that I had to go out eventually because there was an interview I had to give but I was already anxious because of said interview because it would be the first time that I would give one alone.
I took one last breath and then got out of the bathroom. Slowly I made my way to the meeting room where the interviewer was already waiting. For a change it was a guy this time because in like 95 percent of the interviews I had already given it had been a woman who would ask the questions.
“Hello, my name is Gabe. It’s nice to meet you, Ryan.” The interviewer started. Apparently he was one of this people who would tell you just their first name because it was supposed to be nicer. I nodded and we both sat down at the prepared table. The camera was already on its place and I felt like it was directed straight into my mind so that everybody would know my deepest secrets.
One of the guys put it on and then my face would be seen in the TVs of thousands of people. I tried to stay calm as Gabe started to ask me questions. “I’m pretty sure that you’re already tired of hearing the same questions over and over again so I want to ask you different ones today.” He smiled at me and I knew that this interview would be a disaster. The questions that were frequently asked were easy to answer because I already had my answers prepared and even though they were boring it was safe. But I didn’t know what this guy would ask me today.
“Let’s start easy. What do you think of Sidney so far?” I let my breath out. “I don’t know because I’ve actually just slept yesterday so all I’ve really seen of the city are the endless beaches, some streets, my hotel room and this hall. But so far I think it’s beautiful. I just want the winter back.”
“Right, it must be hard, this sudden change of the climate and then also the big time difference and if I’m right that is the first time you have left the US?” the interviewer continued. “It is indeed. Even though I have slept really long I still don’t feel really good and this heat isn’t good either. But I’m pretty sure that we’re going to rock today’s show.” I tried to ignore the camera that seemed to seduce me. “And it really is my first time I’ve left the US.”
The interviewer smiled politely. “Now comes a more serious question. The fans actually don’t know much about your life before the Social Busters. What about your family?” I could feel how my breath got heavier because no interviewer had dared to ask this question until now and I wasn’t prepared for it. I tried to keep the smile on my face while answering. “There isn’t much to know. I was born in Las Vegas and my parents died when I was 14. After that I was in several foster families.” I said concise.
“And how did you feel being part of the foster system? How have your experiences been?” My heart stopped beating for a second and I couldn’t breathe but I knew that I couldn’t show a sign of weakness because that was what they wanted. “My experiences have been just fine. Every foster family has cared well for me and actually made me feel as if I really belonged to their family.”
I thought about the monster who had regularly beat me up and had almost killed me but I would never ever tell that – neither the press but even not one of the people closer to me. I quickly remembered the time I had spent in several foster families and thought about how Spencer would always beg his parents to accommodate me because he knew how miserable I had felt back then but they had never allowed it. I realized how different my life would’ve probably been if Spencer would’ve had other parents. His parents also died when he had been eighteen so this time had probably been the hardest for both of us. I was living on the streets and Spencer also tried to manage his life while other young people were having the time of their lives.
I eventually came back to the actual time because the interviewer had apparently asked me another question. “Can you please repeat the question?” I asked while my fake smile had never left my face. Gabe quickly glanced at me as if he knew something but eventually did. “How about the time of your early adulthood? What did you do when you were like eighteen or nineteen years old?” It was as if this guy was able to read my thoughts.
“I had several jobs back then to afford an apartment just for myself. You probably should know that I actually never finished high school so it wasn’t easy to find a job but I managed it eventually.” I felt like this was a personal thing I could share with the world because the fans would finally be fed with something but it wasn’t too much.
The interviewer continued to ask me questions but they were more about the band, playing music and the tour which was really pleasing for me. After what seemed to have been an eternity the interview was finally over and a glance at my watch showed me that it was already almost 5pm what meant that the interview really had lasted unusually long or maybe I had just stayed in the bathroom too long before.
I quickly made my way to the backstage area where my band and the other band where currently sitting and relaxing in the lounge area before the show would eventually start. I realized that Gerard had put make up on his face so that his eyes were now completely ran around with black. The older man smiled at me and I realized how weird this all was. When I had still had a great relationship with his brother I didn’t really like and understand him but now that I had been in a similar position as him I had actually started to like him.
We spent the next two hours getting ready for the stage and checking some last things before the concert eventually started. Today I had decided to go for a really simple make up look and had simply put some blue color around my eyes but I didn’t want to do something else.
A few minutes before we would have to go on stage I quickly wanted to escape to the bathroom as Brendon grabbed my arm looking concerned. “You’re not going to… you know, right?” He asked me skeptically. “No I’m not. Don’t worry, Brendon. Plus Zack has already scanned me before and I don’t even have stuff!” For a short moments my eyes locked with Brendon’s but I eventually tore me away from him and got into the bathroom.
I quickly grabbed the package snorted the coke and got back into the backstage area where Brendon, Spencer and Jon just were about to go on stage. I followed them and took my usual position on Brendon’s right side. It wasn’t weird at all to have my best friend behind me playing the drums – in the contrary it kind of felt like it had always been like that.
“Hello Sydney!” I started enthusiastically. I had decided to still give the opening speech even though I actually didn’t want to do that but I didn’t want to get anybody suspicious either. “Is it always so hot here?” I started laughing and the crowd did too. “Thank you all so much for coming here today. That’s actually the first time that I’m so far away from home.” I took a quick break because the people were cheering.
“The first song is called High Hopes. It’s off our new album and it’s for all the people who have lost their hope. Always keep fighting!” I finished and realized that this speech had probably also been for me. We started playing but it was different today. The second leg of the US tour had been eased and I remembered how I would always go near Brendon on stage to sing through his microphone but I wouldn’t do that today.
In the end the show was still OK but it was nothing compared to the shows we had had previously. We got off the stage and entered the backstage area where Zack was already waiting for us. “Guys, you can definitely do that better.” He started especially looking at me. “Anyways, you have to go out and meet the fans to sign some stuff and then you can do whatever you want. But nothing dangerous.” He again glanced at me.
We did as he said and met the crowd of fans that was already standing in front of the arena. There was obviously a barrier but the fangirls were fighting over which one would stay in the front row and therefore would have the best chances to meet the band members.
I started to sign random things – photos of me, records of the band’s albums, t-shirts and even home-made things - and smiling at the fans. Finally Zack came to escort us to our car and we were free. Our next concert would be in three days in Adelaide so we would fly there tomorrow and have some days off much to my pleasure.
The traffic was hell because apparently every citizen and tourist had decided that it would be a good idea to leave the Social Busters alone in the car for a longer time than planned. Nobody wanted to talk to somebody else and it was an awkward silence again.
After what had felt like hours we finally arrived at the hotel and I couldn’t wait to finally get into my room and be alone. We entered the lounge and Brendon and Jon immediately got to their rooms that were located at the other side of the hotel. Spencer and I made our way to the elevator because nobody wanted to go to a party today.
When we arrived at the fifth floor Spencer finally started talking. “I actually wanted to tell you something yesterday but apparently you are more important than anyone else. Do you really just care for yourself, Ryan?” My best friend looked at me sadly and I knew that he was talking about yesterday where I fell asleep immediately and therefore didn’t open the door so he now thought that I had abandoned him. I knew that I deserved that and I felt miserable.
“I’m going to tell you anyways because I want you to know. Linda and I got engaged shortly before we left for the tour. And you’re now cordially invited to come to our wedding.” I looked at my best friend and didn’t know how to feel. Why was everybody engaged or married now? I felt like I was the only one left who was still single and I felt like I had to change that.
Jon had a wife, Spencer was engaged now, Mikey was married and these were all people who were close to me. “You know what?” I eventually asked. “I thought about it and I want to attend some party after all. Do you want to join?” My best friend looked at me unsure but eventually nodded. “And I almost forgot: Congratulations and of course I’ll come to the wedding.”
We went to some random club shortly after our conversation because the risk of being recognized here wasn’t that high here. Spencer and I quickly entered the VIP lounge and sat down in some corner. I wanted to get really drunk so we ordered much alcohol.
“To you and Linda.” I said as I swigged down the vodka that the waitress had just brought us. Spencer nodded and also drank his drink. I drank something else and was already able to feel it in my blood because of the coke I had taken before. Of course I knew that this was a really dangerous combination that had already brought me to the hospital two times but I wouldn’t let it come so far again.
Some women were coming over to us and one sat down on my lips. She was pretty – brown hair and brown eyes – and had a knowing smile on her face as she moved closer to me. I knew what was about to happen but I didn’t push her away as she leaned down to kiss me.
It was weird to kiss a woman again after I’d just kissed Brendon in the last few months but under the influence of the drugs and the alcohol everything felt great. I could make everything feel great. Her tongue pushed inside my mouth and I allowed her to do that. She moaned like in a porn movie and I started to draw a line with my finger starting at her breasts and going down deeper. Maybe she even was a porn star, how was I supposed to know?
I broke the kiss to just to place some kisses on her neck and knew that I would probably leave a hickey there but it didn’t matter. I saw that Spencer glanced at me confused and unhappy.
This had definitely been a bad idea. Now I had forced my best friend to come to a party with me just because I had a crisis and didn’t want to be single anymore. Even though I knew that kissing random women in a club thousands of miles away from my home wouldn’t change that I still wanted to continue making out with her.
Just when I was about to kiss her again I noticed that somebody was staring at me. I quickly glanced at this person and realize that it was nobody else than Brendon Urie – always appearing in the right moment.
For a quick moment I stopped making out with the woman and Brendon and I looked into each other’s eyes. I was able to see similar emotions as I had already seen before but there was something new now and I needed a few seconds to identify it. It was hurt – not just hurt. Brendon looked as if somebody had just ripped out his heart.
And I felt the same.
“Everything OK?” The woman asked me looking confused and I remembered that she was still sitting on my lap. I quickly looked at the spot where Brendon was standing but he was already gone and it all seemed just like a vision – like a bad dream.
I looked at the beautiful woman again and smiled. “Everything’s perfect.” I eventually said as I kissed her again.

Chapter Text

“Stop it, Brendon.” Fabiola said giggling which almost made me strangle her. But this was probably not the first time that I had these kind of thoughts. Since Brendon and Fabiola had gotten together things had even become worse between the whole band even though I hadn’t thought that this would be possible before.
Much time had passed since we had played our concert in Sidney but time didn’t matter for me anymore. Brendon and this woman were probably together for like three months now and I didn’t know that it was possible for me to feel so bad. And I didn’t even know why.
Brendon and I had just fucked and we hadn’t been in a relationship or something. Even though the sex had been amazing it hadn’t meant anything and we had both known that. We were currently on our way to Amsterdam where we would play our first concert of the European leg. Unfortunately our lead singer had decided that it would be a good idea to bring his girlfriend on tour much to the displeasure of all of us.
I was definitely not the only one who hated this woman because I was able to see Jon’s and Spencer’s displeased looks as Brendon and Fabiola were fooling around. There was something incredibly annoying about this woman but I didn’t dare to say what it was exactly.
“We will approach landing now.” Resonated the pilot’s voice through a speaker. I quickly glanced out of the window just to see the city lights that were spreaded over a great area. A few moments later I was able to see the silhouettes of houses and cars that were driving on the highways. Everything was so tiny from above and it was almost impossible to not feel great in this moment.
Since we had started the tour more than seven months ago now flying had become such a daily activity as going to the toilet for me. I thought about how my life had been one year ago where I hadn’t met Brendon yet and where I would’ve never been able to afford a flight with a plane.
Now I was one of the most famous people of the decade and everything had changed. I thought about another world – another time maybe – where Brendon and I might’ve possibly been together but then I immediately had to laugh at myself. It wasn’t possible that homosexuality would ever be accepted by the society – especially not when you were in a famous band.
Brendon was kissing his girlfriend passionately and as he shortly broke the kiss for a moment we quickly glanced at each other but then the second had passed and he continued to kiss Fabiola. I immediately had a deja-vu because once I had been the one who had kissed another woman and then looked at him for a moment and still continued
I forced myself to look away and again looked out of the window. The landing strip was now visible and just a few seconds later we had reached the earth. The pilot continued to drive some circles but eventually the plane came to a halt. I took one last sip of my vodka because I didn’t want to waste anything of it and we slowly started to get out of the plane.
This was such a normal activity now and as I saw some limousines standing in front of the plane it was nothing special anymore. I thought about a time where it still had been. We got into the car while the crew started to put our luggage in the other one. It was such a luxury and sometimes even I started to forget how hard everybody was working just for the Social Busters.
The vehicle eventually started to move and I looked out of the window. It was my first time in Europe and even though I didn’t want to be I still was a little bit excited. We cruised through the streets of Amsterdam and passed canals with tiny bridges and colorful houses on the sides. I felt like this was a whole new world.
“OK guys.” Zack started but quickly added “and Fabiola” as said person looked at him angrily. “As you know the concert will be tomorrow but until then you will have some time off and can do whatever you want. There are some problems with the tour bus because it should’ve already been here today but will instead only arrive tomorrow so we spontaneously booked you hotel rooms. These may not be the luxury hotel you are used to but I think it’s okay.”
Zack looked at us apologetically but I was actually really happy about the fact that we wouldn’t stay in a luxury hotel for once because I hated them. I personally even preferred a tour bus but this wasn’t always possible. The crew member who was driving us to the hotel eventually stopped the car in front of a normal looking building. I always had severe problems to remember the crew members’ names and was somehow ashamed of that in this moment.
We got out of the car – Brendon of course tightly embracing his girlfriend and as we entered the lobby I immediately felt comfortable. The hotel was – as Zack had already said – a normal one without fancy stuff on the walls and the people at the counter wore a real smile for a change.
“Welcome!” The woman started with a really good English actually. “It’s a pleasure to have you as our guests today. You know, we’re actually not used to people like you, you know, famous people.” The woman was obviously nervous but I actually liked the different treatment.
“Because your request has been really short-termed we actually just have three rooms available for the band itself. And I see there is some female visit too.” She smiled and eventually gave us the keys. We immediately knew who would share a room with whom – Brendon would of course go with his girlfriend, Spencer would go with me and Jon would have the single room. I’d never had big standards because when we would sleep in the tour bus there were always up to ten people in one tiny room so it wasn’t a problem for me to sleep in a room with my best friend.
Spencer and I again had a room in the fifth floor but fortunately there was an elevator. I grabbed my luggage and we got into the elevator. Since Spencer had joined the band our relationship had actually improved but of course he didn’t know about the coke or something else because then our relationship would probably get worse again.
“Are you already nervous?” I asked insinuating Spencer’s upcoming which would happen after the Europe leg would be over in like two and a half weeks. Spencer looked at me – smiling but there was also something else. “You have no idea Ryan, for real.” He eventually said. “Honestly, it’s not a big deal for me to play the drums in front of thousands of people because I’m good at that. But the wedding is a big deal – I’ve actually never been so nervous in my whole life. What if I will fuck it all up?” My best friend looked at me skeptically.
“You won’t fuck it up, Spence.” I said laughing and I really meant it. “You will be a great husband as well as you’re a great drummer and everybody knows it.” The elevator eventually arrived on the fifth floor and we quickly got to our room which was located at the right end of the hallway.
I opened the door and quickly inspected the place where we would stay for one night. Two single beds where standing about three feet apart from each other and on the right side of them there was a little nightstand. The room was very small but it didn’t matter to me. The special thing was the balcony that enabled us a great view over some part of the city.
I quickly opened the door of the balcony and was eventually standing on the tiny space. Even though it was just June it was actually extremely hot and I felt like I was going to melt because the sun was shining directly at me. Spencer joined me on the balcony and we both enjoyed the great view.
“I know that I’ve never asked you this before because I know that you don’t like it but what is actually wrong with you and Brendon. I mean I also hate Fabiola – you can believe me that – but every time you look at her and Brendon I actually think that you’re going to kill her. Honestly if I didn’t know better I would say that you’re jealous.” Spencer inspected me and I actually felt a shiver going through my body.
“What are you talking about? I’m not jealous, I mean why should I be? Haven’t you seen me kissing this woman back in Sydney? And what about all the relationships I had had with several women? If you’re saying that I’m gay here I can assure you that I’m definitely not so stop talking about that!” My rage was actually just a cover for my desperateness because Spencer was actually right. I was jealous at Fabiola but I didn’t even know why.
“I’m not saying that you’re gay – I’m just telling you what I have witnessed – but even if you were gay I wouldn’t care, you know? It doesn’t matter to me because you would still be my best friend, no matter what.” Spencer looked at me seriously and even though I knew that I actually wasn’t gay – I had just enjoyed having sex with Brendon – I actually considered to tell him about what had happened between the lead singer and me for just a slight second.
“I’m not, OK? I’m definitely not a faggot.” I said with a finality in my voice that seemed to surprise me as much as it surprised Spencer. I had once read somewhere that if you were associated with being part of a certain group of people you just had to start insulting this group of people you didn’t want to be associated with and that was what I was doing here. “Let’s go back inside. It’s actually getting really hot here.” I eventually said and we did as I had suggested.
I had just closed the door to the balcony as I heard that somebody was knocking on our door so I got there to open it. I was actually surprised to see Brendon standing in front of me probably for the first time without his annoying girlfriend. I inspected him for a slight second and that was when I realized that I actually missed having sex with him because when we still had had sex this had probably been the best time of my fucked up life.
“What do you want here?” I asked harshly. “Can’t the lead singer visit his band members?” Brendon started sarcastically because we both knew that he wouldn’t come here at this point if it wasn’t for something else too. “Just kidding. I actually wanted to call you guys because the support band has finally arrived here and maybe you’d like to see them. I think you will actually be surprised.” He hinted and Spencer and I eventually followed him to the elevator to get downstairs.
Rage Against The Death had been our support act for some time but know they weren’t anymore mainly because Mikey wanted to return to his new beloved wife which was completely understandable. I was actually a little bit sad that they wouldn’t be on tour with us anymore because we were actually getting along pretty well and at the end I had probably spent more time with Gerard’s band than with my own.
We eventually arrived on the first floor and then I saw them. Next to Jon stood probably one of my favorite bands of all time and I was surprised that they were going to be our support band because I had always felt like the Dark Blue Lions where much more famous than the Social Busters.
“Patrick Stump!” I screamed because I couldn’t help myself but have a little fan moment here. I then saw Andy who was smiling at us. It was weird to see him again because he was now in a different band but I actually quite liked that we were going to see each other sometimes in the upcoming weeks. “Surprised to see my, Ryan?” He eventually said and I nodded. I knew that Brendon knew Pete Wentz but I had never actually met him or the rest of the band before.
“What am I supposed to say, Ryan Ross?” Patrick said laughing because of my screaming earlier. I couldn’t help myself but laugh too because the situation was kind of ridiculous. I had almost admired the lead singer who was standing in front of me but now I was apparently more famous than him. Not that it mattered but it was really ridiculous.
“You guys know that I have known Pete for – what is it – I guess four years now and we always wanted to go on a tour together and now the possibility was finally there so we decided that they would be our support band.” Brendon said and he and Pete smiled at each other. It was weird because the other guys were all older then us but we would be the main act on stage.
“Let’s eat dinner together.” I eventually suggested because I just got this idea. Even though it was already like eleven pm we all hadn’t eaten anything for hours and I actually needed something before I would be able to go to sleep. Everybody agreed and we eventually left the hotel searching a good restaurant because the one in the hotel was already closed.
We walked through the streets of Amsterdam and I felt a strange kind of freedom as I admired all the beautiful houses and canals. I realized that neither of us had some kind of cover so we could easily be recognized by fans but then I thought that it was dark already and one wouldn’t recognize a famous person that easily.
We eventually got into a cozy-looking Chinese restaurant that still be open until midnight so we had about forty-five minutes left to order and eat something. The restaurant was almost empty much to our pleasure. The waiter came to our table and we quickly ordered our food and then waited. I was just about to relay when I heard a scream somewhere.
“Ryan Ross! And Brendon Urie!” someone screamed. “And the rest of the Social Busters plus the Dark Blue Lions!” I realized that there were two fangirls now standing just next to us and looking overwhelmed. That was the last thing I had needed in this moment.
“Can you please sign this for me?” One girl started showing me her copy of Zero Gravity. “I actually wanted you to sign it tomorrow but this is even better because maybe tomorrow I wouldn’t have gotten the chance, who knows.” She giggled and I had the great desire to punch her in the face. What was it about women recently that I apparently wanted to strangle like 95 percent of them? Well not really, but they were just so annoying.
A fake smile appeared on my face while I signed the record for her and then the other also had to sign stuff from her and her friend. After what felt like hours the girls were finally gone and a few seconds later the food arrived. I started eating listless now because meeting the fans had apparently taken all the appetite I had felt before.
“Where is your girlfriend actually?” I asked Brendon when he had finished eating and got out of the restaurant because this was a question I wanted to ask him the whole evening. Brendon looked at me sharply as if I had just exceeded some kind of invisible line. “She’s meeting some friends.” He eventually answered but I felt like he was actually lying.
I looked at the man I had fucked several times again and realized that he looked tired – not just tired because he was exhausted but also tired of this tour or even of his life. “What’s wrong with you?” I eventually dared to ask. “Is Fabiola cheating on you?” I had already spoken the words when I realized that I had now really crossed a line – I shouldn’t have said that but now it was too late.
Brendon looked at me furiously. “How dare you to accuse Fabiola of cheating, you fucker!” He screamed and one moment later I already felt his fist in my face. He was hitting me and for a few seconds nobody was doing something – neither I nor the other people standing around us. When I could taste blood in my mouth somebody finally took Brendon off of me and as I opened my eyes I saw that it was my best friend.
Spencer held his shoulder tightly looking furiously himself now. “What the fuck is wrong with you?” He screamed and I realized that we now got everybody’s attention on the street. There weren’t many people walking around but those who were looked at us afraid. “You ask me what’s wrong with me?” Brendon eventually screamed. “You should rather ask Ryan what’s wrong with him! Haven’t you heard what he had just said?”
“I have.” My best friend returned. “But that is no reason to beat somebody. In fact, one should never beat somebody because violence isn’t affective. So please give each other your hands now and we can go back to the hotel – all happy.” Spencer was now so calm that it was almost frightening. He had always been such a great mediator and had always been against violence. I was too in fact but sometimes I could understand that people would use violence to get along with their anger.
Brendon now looked at me and I could see a hate in his face that I’d never seen before. In fact I didn’t know until this point that he felt this way about me. To both our dislike we eventually gave each other our hands and the moment was finally over. We continued to go back to the hotel but the semi-great atmosphere that had existed before was now definitely gone.
“It was nice to meet you.” Joe eventually said as we entered the lobby. Joe Trohman was the band’s guitarist and he was probably the youngest one of them. At least that was what I guessed. We all said our good-byes and got up to our rooms again. The Dark Blue Lions would sleep in their tour bus which had already been here when they had arrived so they got back outside because the tour bus had stopped near our hotel.
As Spencer and I got back to our room my best friend was looking at me skeptically again. “What the fuck was that about, Ryan? Honestly, it can’t go on like this. Our band is split, our band is destroyed and I hate it. Especially you and Brendon have to get along again because otherwise I don’t know how this is supposed to work!” My best friend starred at me and I realized that I still had so many secrets that I was hiding from him. Was I still allowed to call him my best friend after all?
“I’ll try harder, OK?” I eventually replied and Spencer sighed. We got out at the balcony and now that it was already after midnight it was actually really enjoyable on the outside. I looked at the city lights and I couldn’t see an end of them. Somehow big cities had always made me emotional. Just this knowledge that there were so many people around one and that everybody was living their lives had something really weird.
I fetched my lighter and the pack of cigarettes I was now always wearing on my body. Smoking had become a real addiction by this time. Somehow I had barely smoked for many years and would rather take coke or drink alcohol but on a party in Washington D.C. someone had offered me a cigarette and I had taken it. Since then I couldn’t stop but I had actually also realized that because of the cigarettes I was now taking less coke and the latter was probably even worse.
Spencer looked at me disgusted because he had never liked smoking and every time I would light a cigarette next to him it looked like he was going to puke. I deeply inhaled the smoke and immediately felt more relaxed. Smoking wasn’t as good as taking drugs but it was a good alternative sometimes.
My best eventually got back inside and I followed him as I had finished my cigarette. Just then I realized how tired I actually was because of the jet lag and I didn’t have a feeling of time anymore. I laid on my bed and immediately fell asleep.
***
I was in the mask room drawing my make up on my face because I sometimes liked to do that. Today I went for an all-black look – starting with my clothes and the black color around my eyes – because that fitted my mood really well. Black was always the color of mourning and of depression but I actually liked it not just for that.
As almost every time before a concert would start I went to the bathroom to take my usual dose of coke. The concert hall we were playing in today wasn’t that big but therefore even more confusing so I actually needed some time to finally find the bathroom. I entered the room glad to finally be alone as I heard some noises that could just be two people fucking.
I quietly got into another cubicle and tried to ignore the exaggerated moaning. I almost felt like I was in a porn movie. Eventually it stopped and I quickly took out my package where the coke was in. I opened it and took some of the drug out but just when I wanted to take it the door of my toilet cubicle flew open and nobody else but Brendon Urie was standing in front of me.
Why did I always forget to close the door and why had it been Brendon and Fabiola I had just heard fucking? Brendon looked at me and I looked at him. And then I knew I was completely fucked. I knew that it was completely over. I wouldn’t get away with that this time.

Chapter Text

Brendon’s look broke my heart into a thousand pieces and what was much worse was that I was the reason he was so disappointed, angry and sad. The lead singer didn’t say anything for a few moments and that was when I was still able to imagine that everything was OK – that none of this had just happened.
“Fabiola. Get out of here.” Brendon eventually said in a tone that wouldn`t accept an objection. Fabiola looked at her boyfriend first and then at me and for a slight second it seemed like she wanted to say something but eventually she left the bathroom and we were alone. Probably for the first time since I’d met her I actually wanted her to stay in the same room as me because I didn’t want to be in a room alone with Brendon.
“You know what that means, right?” The latter said with a calmness in his voice that was a little bit frightening. There was this thing called the calmness before the storm and I felt that this was the state in which Brendon was in right now. I slowly nodded because I didn’t dare to say anything. “You’re out of the band now, you fucker. For the tour you will still stay here but just because it isn’t possible to find a new member in such a short time and I also don’t want the people wondering.” Excluding the little insult Brendon was still surprisingly calm and I nodded again.
Brendon turned around and I thought that he would leave but then he turned towards me again and looked me in the eyes. “I really thought you had changed, Ryan. For real. It’s one thing to lie to your friends once but it’s much worse to lie to them a second time.” And with that he left and I was left broken but knew that it was my own fault.
I eventually got out of the toilet and got to the backstage where everybody else was already waiting. How did everybody say, the show must go on. Yeah it probably must. I quickly glanced at Jon and Spencer but couldn’t figure out yet if Brendon had told them because both their facial expressions where surprisingly neutral.
The Dark Blue Lions left the stage, all smiling, and I thought about a time where I still had been smiling too. How was it possible that just a few months of touring had destroyed me so much? But it probably wasn’t just the touring in my case. I knew that it was time for us now to get on stage and we eventually did. Everybody put on their fake laughs and just when I did I thought that maybe it was for the better that I wouldn’t be part of the band anymore.
“Hello, Amsterdam.” I greeted the crowd and everybody was screaming. “How are you all?” The fans continued to scream. “We just got here yesterday but I can already say that I’m in love with this city. It’s honestly so aesthetic!” The crowd was freaking out now. “The first song we will play today is going to be Northern Downpour. This is a really special one for me because when I hadn’t been part of this band yet it had helped me through some hard times and I hope that it will help you too!” The last part actually wasn’t a lie but now this song just made me want to cry.
Hey moon, please forget to fall down
Hey moon, don't you go down
You are at the top of my lungs
Drawn to the ones who never yawn
We eventually finished the song and just for a quick moment Brendon and I were looking at each other. I remembered a time where we would smile at each other when we had finished a song but now there was almost every other emotion in his face – regret, anger, sadness, desperation, frustration – almost everything but happiness.
We continued with the concert and the fans were screaming the whole time. Sometimes it still felt weird that these people were just screaming because of us – because of me. But then I realized that they wouldn’t do that anymore soon because I would leave the band eventually. Brendon had been clear about that and I could completely understand that. I was actually supposed to be relieved because the burden of being famous wouldn’t lay upon me anymore but strangely I wasn’t.
The time flew by and eventually the concert was over. We got off stage and the tension between us came back immediately. It was actually amazing how well we managed to be happy and get along with each other on stage while our band was actually broken. Every famous person was actually an actor because we all had to wear a mask and conceal our real emotions. If we didn’t there would be even more problems.
I quickly got out of the backstage area and eventually out of the concert hall because nobody complained. Nobody wanted to see me in that moment and I was really happy about that. I headed for our tour bus that had finally arrived here a few hours earlier. Somehow I had always preferred the latter over all hotel rooms.
As expected it was empty and I wanted to enjoy the few minutes I would have just for myself. I was about to sit down in the cozy seat as I heard someone screaming “Surprise!” and just a few seconds later I could see the whole band Rage Against The Death standing in front of me. Apparently they had hidden in the extra bedroom at the end of the bus.
Actually the tour bus we had here in Europe looked almost identical as the one we had in America. The only differences were that there were a few more bunks and then there was also a sofa in the living room area. But because of that the kitchen was a little bit smaller but I actually didn’t care about that.
“What the hell are you guys doing here?” I eventually managed to ask laughing. “I thought that you wanted a break actually.” I mustered the guys one by one and my glance eventually fell on Mikey. “I guess we weren’t able to stay away from touring for such a long time.” He said apologetically. Since we had met again in Australia our relationship had also improved much. I had actually realized that Mikey had changed for the better and that was probably also because he was married now what I still couldn’t believe.
“But what about Kristin? And honestly, we already have a support band!” I realized but I honestly didn’t know why I would want to destroy the good mood now. Apparently that was my specialty – always bringing sadness, desperation and anger to anyone.
“Kristin’s fine. Actually she had been the one who had told me to come back here because according to her I had been impossible at home. And about the supporting band. We have actually talked to Brendon a few days before and because he had liked us as the supporting act we’d actually agreed that we and this other band would alternate on the Europe leg.” Mikey smiled and I couldn’t help myself but smile too. It was actually great to see him again.
“So, is here still enough space for us?” Gerard chimed in. “Unfortunately we don’t have a tour bus ourselves and thought that maybe we could also sleep here in the next weeks.” I looked at the bunks and realized that there were eighteen of them and that was more than enough for our band, some crew members and Gerard’s band.
“I have to talk to the others first and see if they’re OK with you guys staying here but just considering the amount of bunks there’s definitely enough space and it wouldn’t be a problem for me personally.” I smiled and just when I had said that the rest of my band chimed in. Brendon didn’t look surprised to see the others here but Jon and Spencer did because our lead singer probably hadn’t told them.
“Guys, you probably still remember Rage Against The Death.” I started because nobody apparently wanted to say anything. “They will be our second support band in the following weeks and I guess they can stay in the tour bus with us, right?” Actually the thought that the other band might stay with us was really appealing to me. I had definitely spent more time with them then with my own band before and when Brendon would tell Jon and my best friend about the coke it would probably be the same again.
Everybody nodded and so it was decided. We were in Europe and we apparently had two US support bands what was completely crazy.
***
“Leave me alone, Mikey.” I said currently locked up in the tiny bathroom of our tour bus. I had just wanted to take some coke as the lead singers’ brother had started to knock at the bathroom door like something severe had happened. And apparently it had because now he was asking me about the coke. Nobody outside of the Social Busters knew about my little drug problem because fortunately Brendon, Jon and Spencer wouldn’t tell anyone else – but not because of me but for their own good because if the world would know that the guitarist was regularly taking coke our reputation would be in the dumps.
“I know it’s true, Ryan. You don’t have to lie to me, honestly, I understand it pretty well.” Something in Mikey’s voice made me open the door eventually and as I saw his face I knew that he really understood me. Apparently I was not the only one with a little problem here. “OK, first of all, how long do you have this problem and what exactly do you take? And second, who exactly has told you about this?” I whispered because everybody who would go by the toilet would hear us if we talked louder.
Mikey looked at me broken as I just realized and I wondered how I hadn’t realized that before because we were now on tour together for like two weeks. But then I realized that I myself was a master at concealing my little problem. “It had all started when you were still living in Las Vegas actually. You still remember this time where I had always been so angry and had insulted everybody because of just the tiniest thing? Yeah that was because of the stuff I took actually.” Mikey took a quick break.
“One evening a colleague and I went to a bar and I actually got really drunk and sometime somebody had offered me ecstasy and I had stupidly said yes and so it had all started. Apparently I was one of these consumers who would get severe psychotic disturbances and panic attacks plus I always had the feeling that someone would follow me. There had been days where I had actually felt good but then there had been days where I couldn’t even leave the house.” Mikey sadly looked at me.
“You don’t know how it is if someone you love has to see you like this but isn’t able to do much. The whole time Kristin had thought that the drug addiction would somehow be her fault – which is completely crazy – and I don’t know, one day I had finally realized that I had to do a deprivation because it couldn’t go on like this any longer. That’s actually the real reason why we haven’t followed you on tour for a few weeks. And I’m telling you something, Ryan. I feel so much better now and I really hope that you will stop with this shit too because it honestly just destroys your life.”
I looked at one of my best friends shocked and realized how little I actually knew about all the people around me. “And to answer you second question, nobody has told me about this because I somehow knew. I already suspected it back in Australia to be honest but this time I knew for sure because when I was in therapy they had taught me how to recognize other drug addicts and then everything was incredibly obvious.” Mikey sadly looked at me. “You have to stop this, for real. If you want it it actually won’t be that difficult because you just need one thing: your endurance.”
And then I was left alone again in the tiny bathroom – the tiny package with the drugs were in the right pocket of my trousers – and I thought about everything Mikey Way had just told me. I never would’ve imagined that he could also be a drug addict but then everything made sense because when he had started taking the ecstasy his mood had really changed abruptly – too much for a normal person.
I wondered how nobody else would actually notice something major like that or just when it was actually too late. I reached my pocket and struggled if I should take the coke or not. Just when I wanted to take the package out again Zack’s voice screamed through the whole bus so he had indirectly made my decision. But that was just this time, what about the next times?
“We will arrive in Düsseldorf in a few minutes and I want you all to put on you happy faces because it may be possible that fans will already wait in front of the concert hall because we’re a little bit late.” Everybody appeared in the living room area – some band and crew members had slept to compensate the lack of sleep they probably had.
That was really the last thing I needed right now. Fans meant some extra work – more fake smiles even though the concert would just start in approximately three hours. I sighed and everybody else seemed pretty unhappy too which meant that we had at least still one thing in common. The only one who actually looked excited was that bitch Fabiola.
Brendon and she had been sleeping in the extra bedroom at the end of the bus every night and because my bunk was directly located next to the door of it I had actually heard them fucking very often in the last two weeks and it wasn’t something great to hear. Fabiola always appeared to be in a porn movie with her exaggerated moaning and Brendon would never make a noise. I remembered the times when we had fucked and when Brendon had actually been pretty loud but not in an annoying way. He had moaned and begged for more but it was nothing compared to the noises Fabiola always made. I wondered why Brendon was so silent when he would fuck her.
Sometimes I actually thought that Brendon would just fuck her almost every night to annoy me because he knew that my bunk was directly located next to the room. It wouldn’t really surprise me.
Everybody was now ready to get out of the bus. We were all exhausted because the ride from Manchester to Düsseldorf had actually taken about ten hours and even though we had bunks to sleep in it still wasn’t the same as sleeping in a bed. The tour bus eventually came to a stop and we started to get out. First the Dark Blue Lions got out and I was already able to hear some screaming fans. So Zack’s apprehension had been right. I mentally prepared myself for meeting the fans and smiling at them and eventually it was time for us – the Social Busters or what would better fit the Split Busters – to get out too.
There was a group of about fifty screaming fans and I wondered how they actually got here. We were of course entering the hall through the back entrance and the latter was actually secured with fences and stuff but somehow they still managed to meet us here. I signed some random stuff from fans and my smile stayed on my face the whole time.
“Ich liebe euch!” Brendon eventually screamed and a shiver went through my whole body. I actually knew that what he had just said meant ‘I love you!’ and somehow how he had pronounced the words made me feel weird. I saw how Fabiola was touching his arm the whole time possessive as if to tell the fans that Brendon Urie was hers.
Zack and the other security people shielded us so we could finally get into the building. The arena was nothing special for me anymore. In the last months I had played so many concerts in front of thousands of people that nothing actually impressed me anymore. We all got into the mask room as Zack came over to me.
“Ryan, actually someone has requested an interview just with you again and it’s in fifteen minutes so you probably have to be the first to get your make-up done.” Our manager told us but even this didn’t shock me anymore. In the last months these requests had happened more often so even this wasn’t anything special for me anymore. I still remembered the first time where I had to give a single interview and where I had been extremely anxious but this wasn’t the case anymore.
Still I quickly got into the bathroom Brendon’s sharp glances in my back. I took out the coke for the second time today and just for a slight second I considered not taking it because of what Mikey had said. But then I realized something: Mikey had been wrong: I didn’t have the endurance, I didn’t have the will to stop taking the coke because I actually didn’t want to stop. I wanted this and I knew it.
In just a few seconds I snorted the coke and quickly got back to the mask room. While one woman made my make-up fast I could feel Brendon’s disapproving glance on me the whole. I knew that he knew what I had just done but I didn’t care because it didn’t matter anymore. There were just a few shows left and then I would leave the band and he would never see me again.
The woman eventually finished and I quickly got to the meeting room where the interview would take place. The interviewer – a guy again – was already waiting for me and smiled as I entered the room. I forced myself to return the smile and we both sat down casually. As he asked me the first question I had already forgotten his name.
“Mr Ross, how do you like Düsseldorf so far?” The guy asked me because that was probably the first question an interviewer would ask me every time. How was I supposed to answer that when I barely saw the actual city? “It’s a really lovely city.” I eventually said but didn’t know what else I could say. The interviewer looked at me expectantly as if he thought I would say something else but when he realized I wouldn’t he continued with the next question.
“That’s great. So, many fans are wondering about what the band’s plans will be after the tour will be over. Will there be a new album sometime in the future?” was the next question. I swallowed my own saliva because I didn’t want to answer that question. I wouldn’t tell this guy that I soon wouldn’t be part of the Social Busters anymore.
“Well, there are no concrete plans yet because touring so long is pretty exhausting to be honest – I really do like it but as I said it’s exhausting when you’re on tour for such a long time – and I think we will first take a break when we’re at home. But I’m pretty sure that there will be a fourth album sometime in the future.” That was probably the biggest lie I’d ever told somebody.
“I’m sure that the fans are already excited. Many of them are also hinting that you would be a great lyricist and that you should write some songs for the fourth album because rumor says that you’ve actually written songs before. What do you actually think about that?” I wondered how the fans always seemed to know everything about one.
“That’s actually right. I have written songs before but obviously not for a greater audience. But I guess I can imagine writing songs for the next album if I’m allowed to.” The interviewer laughed and I did too even though nothing here was funny.
“Last question because I know that your time is limited: How does it actually feel that your former bandmate is now part of your support act. Are there any bad feelings between you two bands?” The interviewer asked obviously wanting to her a secret from me.
“Everything’s great between Andy and us because we have actually separated on good terms. Actually Andy has just changed the band because he had promised the bassist – Pete Wentz – years before that one day they would play together in one band and as the opportunity came he just implemented his promise and I think that’s really great of him.”
“Thank you for letting me interview you today. I wish you all the best for the last shows of the tour and for your future.” The interviewer eventually said and I realized that I had no idea what my future would look like now. I smiled at him because this had actually been one of the more adequate interviews and there had already been much worse questions before.
The camera that was filming me the whole was put out and I finally left the room and got back to the backstage area. Rage Against The Death would soon go on stage and then the Dark Blue Lions. Even though it wasn’t originally planned like this both bands were equally loved by the audience so at some point we had decided that they could both be our support bands on the same evening what meant that the fans would get to see three bands on one evening and that was pretty amazing.
Gerard and his band eventually left the band all band member’s eyes circled in black. Their looks really fitted the band’s name I realized. The two other band’s where waiting backstage and I poured myself some vodka in. In the course of time I had actually learned to be more careful with the combination of coke and alcohol but I had also found out that just one drink wouldn’t kill me.
I sat down in a cozy armchair and silently hearing the band’s music in the background I slowly drifted into a dreamless sleep.
***
I was eventually woken up by Zack who looked at me disapprovingly and we got on stage. It was always the same and standing there wasn’t nearly as exciting as it had been at the beginning anymore. I wondered if I was the only one who felt that way because Jon and Brendon were actually famous much longer than I had been now.
The concert was eventually over and we all got back to the tour bus because we would immediately drive to the next city – Berlin. One of the crew members would probably drive us overnight or they would possibly alternate after some time. As I entered the bus I laid down in my usual bunk and was immediately asleep just a few moments later. This had always been one of the big disadvantages of taking coke for me – I was extremely tired.
I woke up some time later but I couldn’t say how much time had passed since I had fallen asleep. As I opened my eyes I could immediately feel that something was deeply wrong here. I felt a big shaking going through the bus and it almost felt like it would be an earthquake but there usually weren’t any earthquakes in Germany. Than the vehicle immediately came to a stop and I felt a little bit dazed.
Everybody got out of their bunks – Brendon and Fabiola got out of the extra room – and we quickly made our way to the front of the bus. And that was the moment we saw it – the moment that would change everything.
I looked out of the front window and saw that we had apparently had a really bad accident and that the front of the bus was completely deformed. First I glanced at the driver whose face and clothes were covered in blood – too much blood to have survived this crash. But then the shock was even greater.
Next to the driver were two other bodies and they weren’t crew members. Laying there – covered in too much blood – because they probably had wanted to ask the driver something in the moment the accident had happened were Bob and Ray and everybody immediately knew that neither of them was still alive.

Chapter Text

When the ambulance finally arrived after what had felt like hours that had passed they could just record the death of the three people. Back in our minds we had all known that there would probably be nothing anybody could do for Ray, Bob or – I realized that I didn’t even know the driver’s name and was ashamed because of that – but now there was the confirmation and neither of us knew what to say.
A few moments later the accident scene was crowded with paramedics, police officers and other helpers I couldn’t identify. I realized that three people which were touring with us were now dead. Even though I hadn’t known either of them well it was certainly a shock. Ray had always been a really nice guy and there were some times where he had talked about random things but I realized that even if he hadn’t been nice it would still be an awful tragedy.
I quickly glanced t Mikey, Gerard and Frank who were of course even more heartbroken than the rest of us were because they had belonged to their band. All three of them were obviously shortly before crying and I honestly couldn’t blame them for them. I imagined another scenario where it might have been Brendon who could have been dead now and even the thought almost made me cry. Even though we didn’t get along well in the last time he was still such an important person in my life.
“We would like to ask you all some questions about the accident.” One of the police officers started talking and I wondered why they would want to do that. This wasn’t a murder investigation, this was just a terrible accident. The man was extremely young for his job – about my age I would guess – but his English was really good so that was probably the reason why he was supposed to interrogate us now. “Has anybody seen what happened exactly?” He eventually started and I wondered how either of us was supposed to say anything now. I felt like my tongue would weigh a ton so I couldn’t move it and talk.
Just when we all thought that nobody would say anything anymore Joe eventually started to talk quietly. “I didn’t see everything but at least something. I had to go to the toilet and then I had felt this shaking going through the bus. When I got out eventually I just saw that Tyler” That had apparently been the driver’s name “was trying to direct the wheel into another direction but eventually we crashed into that tree. I guess it had been some technical defect because of said shaking before. I honestly first thought that it would be an earthquake but then I realized that we are in Germany currently so this would be very unrealistic.”
“Yeah, right. We will have to investigate that because outside interference is not excludable. It might have been that somebody did this on purpose.” The officer looked at us seriously and I started to process what he had just said. If somebody had done this then they had probably intended to kill the Social Busters mainly but this obviously hadn’t worked. But then I thought that this was very unrealistic because we had already been driving for some time before the accident had happened and in the end it would probably just have been a normal accident. A terrible one but just an accident.
“There’s a harborage in the next city and we could bring you there so you have a place to stay for in the night. I realize that this is a tough night for everyone but there really isn’t anything we or you could do at this moment. I would suggest that you rest and we will talk about the important things tomorrow.” The calmness in the man’s voice was unbelievable but this was probably an important factor about being a police officer.
“How the fuck are we supposed to rest now? Our friends are dead and you just told us that they may have been murdered?” Mikey screamed and it was the first thing he’d said now. I was shocked by how aggressive his tone was now but then it was completely understandable. “And what are you doing with the bodies? Are you going to autopsy them like fucking pigs or what?”
Mikey’s anger immediately turned into desperation because nobody knew what to do – how to process this situation. “I know this is an incredibly hard situation now and I don’t even want to try to imagine how you feel now, Mr. Way, but there really isn’t anything we can do right now. And an autopsy will just be necessary when it would be confirmed that this had been a murder and since this isn’t the case and probably won’t be it won’t be done so don’t worry about that.” The police officer was now joined by some colleagues who looked at us confused. He started to talk to them in German and I realized that they probably all didn’t understand English – or at least not good – so he quickly translated what had happened now.
I also wondered how exactly he knew Mikey’s name because we had actually never told him before. “I suggest that we will bring you to the harborage right now. It probably isn’t what you’re used to spend the night in but it’s better than nothing.” The police officer eventually turned to us again and without a further protest we finally escaped the bus through the door in the middle. My stuff was still in there but I knew that I would never enter this bus again in my whole life and somebody would probably take it out eventually.
We got into the police cars with the letters POLIZEI – Gerard, Mikey and Frank into one with the young officer and Brendon, Jon, Spencer and I into another one with an older officer who probably didn’t understand us – and I realized that the crash had happened on an extinct street in the middle of nowhere. Around us there were just fields and trees and of the latter had been our doom in the end.
“Where are we exactly?” I eventually dared to ask after we were already driving for a few minutes. The officer who was driving us looked at us confused and I realized that he didn’t understand English. That was great. I thought about something he might understand. “City?” I asked because this should be a term that was probably not just spread in the US.
The officer nodded as if he now understood what I meant. “Ah yes, city is Bielefeld.” He said with a really bad accent and his hand showed in the right direction so he probably meant that Bielefeld was the nearest city but we were driving to a little one or even a village. I didn’t know anything about German’s geography and couldn’t tell how far we were from Düsseldorf now.
We drove along more fields and trees until we finally saw some houses widely spread along the area. A few minutes later we finally reached the place where we would stay at least for the night. As I already suspected it was a little village and even though not much was visible in the dark I was able to see some people looking through the windows because it probably wasn’t the daily business here that two police cars were driving through the place.
Eventually we reached our destination which was a little tavern. We all got out and the young officer started to give us some instructions. “Soon a car will arrive here with your belongings but we can already go inside because the owner of this harborage is my father-in-law so he will probably offer you some rooms when I explain the situation.” The young man looked at us and I wondered how he was able to speak English so well. I had always sucked at learning other languages and even though I knew a little bit French it was barely enough to talk to someone else properly and I could never imagine to be as confident in speaking another language as in speaking your mother language.
We did as he said and got into the building. The atmosphere there was really cozy. The lobby was also the bar and there were some people sitting there but nobody recognized us probably because the majority of the people were fifty years old or older and our target group would usually be younger.
“Thomas, hallo. Was führt dich denn hier her?” An older man who know approached from the counter asked the young officer warmly. This was probably his father-in-law as he had said earlier. They talked for a few seconds but I obviously didn’t understand anything. “Here are your keys.” The older man eventually said with a bad accent but at least he was able to talk English. We thanked him and made our way to the rooms. There were just three of them available but I was fine with that because we had obviously come here really spontaneously.
We silently decided that we would allocate the rooms as our bands were so Gerard, Mikey and Frank got into one direction and we got into the other – Brendon and Fabiola of course got the two bedroom. The latter looked frightened the whole time as if there really was a murderer running around who could kill us any minute. Probably for the first time since I’d known her I really felt some kind of sympathy for this woman.
Neither of us said anything because we were all in shock. Or maybe it was because there was nothing left to say between us in general – our band was shattered. The room we had gotten gave me major vibes of these youth hostels we would stay in in school when there had been a class trip sometime. There were two bunk beds and a tiny table, even the bathroom was in the hallway.
I quickly got into the bathroom to take some coke because I didn’t know how to survive the night otherwise. As I got out again Spencer and Jon were already laying in their beds but they were probably just pretending to sleep which I couldn’t blame them for.
I took the key of the room and silently got out of the room. I was probably able to do anything in this moment but actually sleep. Mainly it was of course because of the accident that I was so restless but there was also the fact that I soon wouldn’t be part of this band anymore and even though I thought that I had already accepted this there was a part of me who didn’t want to lose Brendon even though he wasn’t even mine after all.
Just when I wanted to go down the stairs some people carrying or luggage crossed my way and I quickly decided to go back and drop it there which I eventually did. Spencer and Jon were still not moving – maybe because they were really sleeping now even though I couldn’t understand how they were able to. As fast as I had entered the room I left it and closed the door again.
My destination was the bar I had seen downstairs. I was actually wondering about the fact that the reception and the bar of a harborage in such a tiny village was open in the middle of the night – to be honest I didn’t know how late it was but it must’ve been pretty late really. As I reached the lobby I recognized the young officer who was still here. I wanted to go to the bar directly but he interrupted me.
“I know that this may be a little bit inappropriate now but I’m actually a big fan of your band. That’s actually how I knew all your guys names.” He admitted and I was a little bit shocked because of the fact that a police officer in Germany actually liked our music. “Well thanks, I guess.” And continued to go to the bar. My counterpart apparently understood that I wanted to be alone right now and got back to where he was sitting before.
“One vodka pure please.” I said to the barkeeper and realized and he poured the alcohol in. “Thanks.” I continued and gave him the money. For a few minutes I just sat there, drank my vodka and thought about everything and nothing. How did we all end up here – in a village in Germany after three people had died?
Even though this was probably the most inappropriate moment one could imagine I couldn’t help myself but think about Brendon and just then I finally realized something. Maybe it was because of the drugs and because of the alcohol and because of everything that had happened but I finally realized that maybe Brendon’s and my relationship had been a little bit more than fucking. Maybe there was something else – maybe I was actually in love with him.
That would actually explain everything but it was just ridiculous. I had just ordered another drink when the person I had just internally admitted maybe being in love with appeared next to me. Brendon looked at me but this time his face was just so emotionless – it felt as if he wouldn’t care about me anymore – if he ever had.
“Drowning your sorrows in alcohol again, Ross?” He started to talk and I realized that I was again doing the thing he probably hated the most and because of what I had ended up in the hospital two times. I stopped drinking for a second to glance at him but I eventually realized that it didn’t matter anymore what I did. When it still had I had fucked up everything over and over again but now it was too late. Too late for everything.
“Letting your girlfriend cheat on you again, Urie?” I returned even though I knew that this was probably the biggest provocation I could offer him. It wouldn’t have surprised me if he would have beaten me up again but he did nothing like that. He just looked at me with a strange acceptance in his face.
“You were right, you know? Fabiola has been cheating on me the whole fucking time but I have never realized it. I mean how stupid have I been? Even you have realized that and I hit you for that.” I would’ve expected anything – anything – but I would’ve never thought that Brendon would say that. I didn’t dare to say that this accusation had actually just appeared because I had wanted to make him angry back then.
“I’m sorry, Brendon, I really am. For everything, you know?” I quietly said because this was probably the last and only moment where we would calmly talk to each other again. We looked at each other again but this time there were several emotions visible in his face. “I know, Ryan. But you were not the only one who did many things wrong. I have also done some shit.” The lead singer admitted and apparently this was some kind of confession hour here.
In my defense I was already a little bit drunk – but not too drunk to not know what I was talking about anymore – but I didn’t know about Brendon. Maybe he was drunk too because I felt like otherwise we wouldn’t be able to have this conversation. “Should we go outside?” I eventually asked because it got really hot inside. Brendon nodded and so we did as I had suggested.
The air had finally cooled down because the day had been so hot but now it was actually really pleasant outside because it was in the middle of the night but I still didn’t know how late exactly. We walked through the streets of the village and eventually got to a bench where we sat down. Even though we had started to talk back in the bar neither of us said anything for a few moments. I looked around the area but everything was black because where we had ended up there was no street lighting anymore.
“I just hate it, you know? Everything is just shit right now.” Brendon eventually started and it was as if he would directly speak out of my soul because I felt completely the same. “Sometimes I imagine another time or maybe even a parallel universe where things could’ve been different – were both of us maybe wouldn’t be so fucked up. Sometimes this thought is the only thing that really keeps me going.” Brendon confessed and for a few seconds I stopped to breathe because that was actually what I was imagining way too often too.
“That’d have certainly been great.” I eventually whispered and even though it was in the middle of the night I knew that the lead singer was looking at me as I was looking at him.
“I don’t know why I’m telling you this now, Ryan – maybe I just finally want you to realize that you’re not the only one with a fucked up life.” Brendon started to talk again. “I have already told you that my family was part of the Mormon Church and that when I left the community they’d been pretty upset. Well, that’s actually not the whole truth. When I left my parents swore to me that they would forget that they had another son and that they would never talk to me again. And you know what, that’s what they really did. I haven’t talked to them in years and even though it’s killing me every day I had actually chosen the music over staying in a community I didn’t like. I had to live in shabby apartments of people I didn’t know back than and I also saw pretty bad things – I saw people die, Ryan, I saw friends die because of drugs and that’s why I always get to upset, OK? Then there was also Dallon – another good friend of mine and I feel like everybody is underestimating drugs and the power they have.” Brendon finished and I was left speechless again.
“Honestly, I don’t want to take the coke but I need it, OK?” I eventually whispered but that was only half true. I needed the drugs but I also wanted them. “You have to stop Ryan or otherwise it will kill you.” Brendon replied with a great sadness in his voice. “And maybe when you have stopped you can join the band again.”
“You know what, Brendon, I actually don’t think so. Things have changed – everything has changed and I don’t like how they have – maybe I have never liked how things have been in the first place.” I eventually admitted and we both sighed because we both somehow knew that it was true. It was as Brendon had said previously – it was the wrong time, the wrong universe and we were just too fucked up.
I didn’t even know what this thing between us was but I definitely knew that we would never found out. “Right.” Brendon whispered and so everything was said between us. There were no more words needed and we just sat there in the dark looking at nothing and anything.
I felt like I was part of a melancholic romantic drama movie as Brendon’s face slowly came near mine so I was able to feel his breath on my lips just a few seconds later. As his lips finally touched mine I replied the kiss hungrily because I knew that it would be the last one we would ever share. We were kissing each other like we would drown if we would stop and maybe it really was like that. Maybe I was drowning without Brendon.
His tongue slipped into my mouth and I couldn’t help myself but moan silently as his arms embraced me. I didn’t know how much time passed as we were kissing each other but I knew that I had to break the kiss eventually. The moment I did I felt as if something inside me was missing. I took all the strength I still had inside me and stood up. I walked away from the bench, from Brendon and from this life that had been the best and the worst.
***

Chapter Text

“Stop it, Keltie. I said no and that’s what I meant.” I said with a definite tone while I slowly pushed my girlfriend. We were currently laying in my Las Vegas apartment and it was in the middle of the night while the window was wide open – but in the summer even in the nights the temperature wouldn’t cool down.
Keltie now was my girlfriend for about six months. We had actually met at one of her shows to which Mikey had forced me to go because he wanted to see all the women that would just wear bras and sparsely underwear. Even though he was married now and Kristin was actually pregnant so they would soon get a child some things probably would never change. But actually his wife was very relaxed about what Mikey did because she knew – everybody could see that – that Mikey just loved her.
Shortly after that night with Brendon that had already happened more than one year ago I had decided to move back to my home city because nothing was actually holding me in New York anymore – I wasn’t a part of the Social Busters anymore and suddenly this city felt weird. This was probably mainly because of Brendon because I couldn’t stand to live in the same city as him anymore. Obviously New York was an enormous city and it would’ve been really improbable that we would’ve met anywhere but just this knowledge that we were living in the same city had killed me.
So I had packed all my things, booked a flight to Las Vegas and got myself a random apartment that was actually really nice. The latter was located in the 18b Las Vegas Arts District and again in the fifth floor. Somehow many places I had stayed in before had been located there. Again I had an amazing view over some parts of the city and even from my current situation on the bed I was able to see the Vegas Lights shining brightly.
Another minor reason for my departure from New York had been that my best friend Mikey was still living in my home town to and when I had still been living in New York I had always missed him. All in all there was – as I said – nothing that had held me in this doomed city anymore.
I was now looking at Keltie who was so beautiful. She was actually five years older than me but it didn’t matter to either of us. My girlfriend had blonde hair and because she was a professional dancer she also had a very pleasing body structure – she wasn’t too thin but also not too muscular.
And now she was looking at me annoyed. “What’s wrong with you recently, Ryan? At the beginning of our relationship you have loved to have sex the whole time and now I want to have sex for the first time in like three weeks and you are constantly saying no?”
She actually was right I realized. After the thing I wouldn’t even think about at this point had happened I had slept with many women but none of them meant something to me – until I met Keltie at this show. I still felt like I was just pretending somehow, like everything was just completely wrong somehow – but with her it actually felt like there was less pretending, like it was less wrong.
At the beginning of our relationship there had been this point where I had actually almost been happy and where I had accepted the situation. I had thought that maybe this was how life was supposed to be after all. But now it was harder to pretend because the reality kicked back in.
“Yeah, I’m sorry babe but I’m just not in the mood recently. I don’t know.” I apologized but now my girlfriend looked furious. “Is it because you’re cheating, you fucker? Yeah, I knew it. Who is she?” She screamed and I thought that she should rather ask who is he? Not that I was actually cheating on her but if I would it definitely wouldn’t be with another girl for sure.
I always tried to forget about what had happened but sometimes I couldn’t help myself but think about certain events. Before I could sink in my thoughts any further I eventually stopped myself. “I swear that I’m not cheating on you, OK! It’s just a phase. Actually Mikey has told me once that he also had a similar phase once but eventually he wanted to have sex again.” The last thing was probably what calmed my girlfriend down even though it was of course a lie. I was pretty sure that my best friend didn’t experience any problems to have sex ever.
“OK, then let’s just sleep and hope that this phase will be over soon.” Keltie said and laid down on me. A few minutes later I was already able to hear how her breathing got heavier and that usually meant that she was asleep. I constantly kept wondering how some people were able to fall asleep in just a few moments. I could also do that when I was heavily drunk or when I had taken too much coke but I had never achieved that when I had been sober. In fact when I was sober I usually needed up to hours to finally fall asleep.
I slowly moved my girlfriend away from me and eventually got out of the bed. There was something I needed to do so I put on my shoes, grabbed my purse and my cigarettes and got out of the room. Since I had started smoking at some point of the Zero Gravity tour I hadn’t been able to quit it until now. But actually smoking was probably kind of good for me because I was now taking less coke which was probably because of the excessiveness I was consuming nicotine.
Lastly I also grabbed my keys and eventually got out of my apartment. This building actually had an elevator that was working so I used the latter to get downstairs. I left the apartment wearing just a black t-shirt because even though it was in the middle of the night it was still very warm because the air didn’t completely cool down. When it was like 105 degrees throughout the day it would be like 78 degrees even in the middle of the night and even though the temperature felt different without the sun this was still really warm.
Even though it was like three am there were many people crossing my way on the streets but this was Las Vegas and like every big city there was always some action and people were even randomly running around in the middle of the night. Nobody noticed me as I walked down the streets and I really appreciated that.
I had actually realized that since I had left the band very few people would recognize me or maybe they just wouldn’t dare to talk to me because of what had happened. Either way I wouldn’t complain.
As I walked around the next corner I saw a big poster of nobody else but Brendon Urie in front of me. His face was put on like half of a house and it was as if he was laughing at me. Even though we didn’t live in the same city anymore somehow I still wasn’t able to escape him completely. The name of the Social Busters was standing under his face and even further below there were many tour dates for his ’67 tour.
In the last year I hadn’t exactly followed everything that had happened in my previous band but even I had found out some things. Apparently Jon had also left the band at the same time I had left and both of our departures were claimed to be creative differences which was just crazy. But of course I knew that nobody would tell the fans the real reason for my departure.
So Spencer and Brendon were left alone but eventually my best friend had also left a few months ago. Actually I was sure that I couldn’t call Spencer my best friend anymore because we hadn’t talked since the accident had happened. There probably just wasn’t anything we could talk about anymore and it apparently had been the end of our friendship. Sometimes I was still sad because of the latter but then I would always realize that this was life and people would sometimes go different ways.
Since Brendon was alone now he apparently had kept our previous band name and continued to make music with touring members. I quickly passed the big poster because I didn’t want to think about this guy anymore. He was living in another city now and was living a completely different life. Now it was as if we had never met – as if this had been a different life really.
I quickly continued to walk down the street trying to forget about the poster I had just seen. I already saw him from afar. Pete Wentz was standing there leaning against a wall a slight smile visible on his face as I eventually reached his location. “I was very surprised to hear from you, Ryan. It’s been some time.” He started without greeting me properly. “I know. I’ve heard that you have a child now. Congratulations!” I replied because even though I wasn’t part of a band anymore this was just something one would hear somewhere.
His smile grew bigger. “Yeah, thanks. Bronx is such an angel.” The bassist apparently seemed to be somewhere completely far away. I harrumphed to bring him back to the current time and the current place. “Yeah right. So what exactly do you want? And why did we have to meet in the middle of the night? Honestly, I’m exhausted because it’s been an annoying flight from Chicago.” He stopped abruptly as he realized that he was just complaining.
“I’m sorry, Ryan. You know I would do anything for you anytime.” He continued and I remembered the time we had spent together. Because I had been part of the Social Busters for some time I actually had some influence and I had used the latter to help the Dark Blue Lions to get famous and so they probably were even more famous now then my band had been like one year ago.
I felt like since the lead singer of my band had started to go solo because everybody else had left him there were two groups of fans now – the ones who preferred Brendon Urie alone and the ones who preferred the time before the split. But Pete’s band was now more popular than ever which was actually no surprise considering how good their music really was.
I inhaled one last time and then said the words that could change my whole life again. “Sorry, but as you know I’m a night owl and when I heard that would arrive here today I thought that we could directly meet because I need you to do me a little favor.” Were the words I started with. “I know that you have started your own record label now and I would like to be the first artist you will sign there.” I said straightforward and realized how crazy these words probably sounded now.
A few months ago I would’ve never imagined that I would actually enjoy to go back on stage sometime but even though I had had severe problems because of that before there was this big part in me that still wanted to do it – really missed it. But I knew one thing for sure – I didn’t want to be in a band again because that just caused trouble.
The bassist looked at me surprised. “Sure Ryan.” He eventually started. “If that’s what you really want I would love to do that. But are you really sure you want to be a solo artist? Are you sure that this isn’t some kind of battle between you and Brendon?” I think Pete already knew when he had spoken the words that this had been a mistake.
Usually I would just run away if someone spoke his name but now I tried to ignore it because Pete actually had become a good friend of mine. It was really unfortunate that the bassist was living almost at the other end of the country. “Yeah, I’m sure Pete. And this definitely isn’t some kind of battle between us because you know that I haven’t actually talked to him for more than a year now.” I said surprisingly calm. “And I actually wrote many songs in the last months.”
Pete now looked at me skeptically and I couldn’t blame him for that. He knew how bad things ended between the Social Busters and even though he didn’t know exactly about my coke addiction he knew that there had definitely been drugs at some point. “I guess I’m just going to listen to some of your songs tomorrow since I’m already here because of other things. You know that this is just a standard procedure and I have to assure myself and the others that you are still as good as you were like one year ago – because nobody has heard anything from you in that time.”
It was true that I had relatively isolated myself in the last few year – then only persons I had actually talked to were Keltie, Mikey – and he was actually the reason why I had met my girlfriend – and Pete plus his band.
Rage Against The Death had actually broken up after the crash had happened. All the band members had said that they didn’t want to continue without their friends so everybody went their separate ways which was actually sad because they really had had potential. Mikey was still living in Las Vegas with his wife and now also his daughter Rowan and they were actually doing fine. Gerard had apparently fled into his own world and was now writing a comic series spending the days in his apartment. And I didn’t actually know what Frank was doing these days.
“I needed the time to think about some things and to structure my life again but now I’m really fine and I can assure you that I’m still as good a guitar player as I was before.” I said laughing. “Do you actually want to grab some food? I don’t know, it’s weird just standing here and I’m hungry.” I eventually offered even though it was in the middle of the night. Actually it was never too late or too early to eat something.
“Why not?” Pete eventually said and so we grabbed some Fish & Chips at a booth that was apparently open 24/7. I had always preferred cities in the night because then you wouldn’t see the ugly sites so well. Because it was dark there were just silhouettes visible and people couldn’t see the mud in the corners for a few hours. There were just the beautiful lights and one was able to imagine the rest of the city as one wanted to.
“So, what exactly are you working on? And why haven’t you told me? I mean I could’ve helped you before!” Pete started talking again after some minutes of silence because we had both just eaten our food. “I haven’t told you before because I actually wasn’t exactly sure before if that’s what I wanted – you know, standing in the spotlight again – and no, this isn’t just a mood because now I’m completely sure. It was as if there has been some kind of switch in my head that was now actuated and I’m a new and better version of myself.”
Pete laughed. “Yeah, we’ll see about that tomorrow.” He said and I eventually continued to talk. “I was actually working on more simple stuff – more back to the roots and not so complex like we did when I was still part of the band.” We continued to walk down the streets and I eventually realized how weird this situation actually was. Just eighteen months ago I had been in a really famous band and now this band just consisted of one person. Now the guy walking next to me was part of an extremely famous band and I was just… I didn’t even know but I knew for sure that I wanted to play shows again.
“OK Ryan, this is my hotel.” The bassist started because we had apparently been walking into the direction of the latter. “I’m really exhausted so I’ll go now but let’s meet again tomorrow at 4 pm. So in like twelve hours?” My friend said. I quickly glanced at the watch and saw that it was really almost 4 am but eventually nodded.
Pete quickly got into the hotel and I made my way back to my apartment which was about fifteen minutes away. I realized that the sun would get out soon and it would start to dawn in the morning. Eventually I reached my apartment and there were still people walking through the streets but there would be the whole nights. There were these people who were still awake – like me – and then then there were also people who were already awake. In the end it was almost impossible to differentiate those two groups of people because they had one thing in common – they were both tired.
And I realized that I was too as I stood in the elevator and eventually reached my apartment. Sometimes everything still felt wrong. The elevator was supposed to be broken, my apartment was supposed to be on the third floor and my neighbor was supposed to be the lead singer of the most famous band of the decade. But none of this was the case here.
I silently opened the door and entered my bedroom just to see that the bed was empty. But there was a note placed on the night stand. I took it and read:
I have no idea what you’re up to again but as I woke up in the middle of the night without you I actually thought that I could spend the night alone in my apartment as well so I’m going to do that now. Honestly, if you’re taking drugs again then you don’t need to come back to me. Otherwise you may explain yourself to me soon.
There was no signature but I obviously knew who had written this note. Unfortunately I had told Keltie about my drug problem one time and since then she was always annoying me with the latter. I still took coke sometimes but now I was able to control it and even if I did it was barely visible that there were drugs in my system.
I always felt like I had never been a real drug addict anyways because normally addicts wouldn’t want to take the stuff anymore at some point, they just needed it. It had been different for me because I really just wanted to take coke but I knew that if I’d really wanted to I would’ve been able to stop eventually. Now I was taking coke sometimes but there could also be like a week where I wouldn’t take anything and be just fine.
It sucked that my girlfriend thought that I had been or was again a drug addict because I definitely wasn’t. Sometimes I wondered why I was together with Keltie in the first place. Sure, at the beginning it had been great but sometimes I just felt like all of this was just a façade so I wouldn’t have the chance to think about Brendon anymore.
With these thoughts I slowly drifted off to sleep actually happy that my girlfriend had left because now I had more space.
***
I met Pete and his crew in a modern studio just a short walk away from my apartment the next day. Because I was already living in the artist’s quarter there were many studios here and this was really one of the great ones. Pete introduced me to all the people that were also there but I didn’t even try to remember the names because I had always been bad with names and would just remember really important one. I was pretty sure that there was one name that started with ‘B’ that I would never forget.
“Show us what you’ve got then.” Pete started as I had grabbed my guitar and stood in front of the microphone. I nodded and eventually started to sing. This song was actually the first one I had written after I had left the band but it was probably also my favorite until now.
Maybe I will, maybe I won't
I don't wanna find my home
Just wonder what happened to it
My hand's all caught in stones
Who stole all my bones?
All my forgotten poems
Are a joke, what do I know,
Maybe we're wrong,
Doesn't it show, people get old
When they're alone
I sang and meant every single word of it and when I eventually finished Pete smiled at me. “That was really great. As you said it’s really different from what you guys made in the band but I really like it. One could feel that this song means really much for you and that this isn’t just some random shit you came up with.” The bassist then looked at his crew and everybody else seemed to be pleased too. “I guess it’s safe to say now that you’re signed. You’re the first artist signed to this label now.”
Everybody cheered and I felt a big smile on my face too. This was what I wanted and this time I would make it right. I wouldn’t fuck this possibility up like I did last time. “Thank you so much.” I eventually answered and we started to talk about the important things – my upcoming album, a possible tour and if I wanted to change my name. About the latter I decided that I didn’t want to do that because everybody already knew my name and if I would start to make music again people would immediately recognize me.
Eventually we agreed on some dates where we would meet to record the album – most of the time I would be able to stay here in Las Vegas but sometimes I would have to travel to Chicago to sort out some things with the bassist.
I eventually left the studio with a great feeling and was honestly excited for the upcoming time. I knew that it would be different this time – it just had to. The afternoon soon was now burning my flesh away and I felt like a vampire because it honestly hurt. I had always hated the heat and Las Vegas was definitely the wrong place to stay in summer but it was my hometown and excluding this factor I really liked it here.
It was something completely different to walk through the streets at daytime because now everything was visible – too visible because you also saw the things you honestly didn’t want to see.
Eventually I got back to my apartment already in joyful anticipation to use the fan and finally cool down. I had bought this thing at the beginning of the summer but already needed it more in my life than I needed my girlfriend sometimes. Then I thought about the latter and realized that I would’ve to visit her eventually and clean up things between us but this wouldn’t be today. Every day but not today because today was a great day.
I finally reached my apartment and got into the elevator that had an air conditioner and life made sense again. Unfortunately I would always get sick if I would use air conditioning too much because I would always tend to underestimate it.
The elevator door opened and I eventually got to my apartment. Already from afar I saw a person standing in front of it and for a slight second my heart started beating faster because I thought that it might be Brendon. But then the person turned around and of course it wasn’t him but it was also a person I would’ve expected to never see again.
My brother whom I hadn’t seen in more than one and a half years and who had abandoned me just then was standing there looking desperate. “Can I please stay here?” Brent asked heartbroken and I couldn’t help myself but nod.

Chapter Text

“What the fuck are you doing here?” I eventually asked Brent as we both entered my apartment. I hadn’t talked to my brother in such a long time and now he was here and I didn’t know how to feel about that. My counterpart first inspected my apartment that was so different from the one I had had in New York and then looked at me.
“I guess I’m going to be honest with you now since I appeared here out of nowhere and want to stay here now.” He started and we both sat down on the sofa in the living room. “After I have left you in New York I got back to Las Vegas and realized how shitty my life actually is. You know, my father whom I had never met was dead, my drug addicted mother was dead and then my brother was apparently also addicted. Don’t interrupt me please.” My bother added because he saw that I was about to complain.
“I got back to my apartment and one night I met some friends and we started to drink – nothing unusual so far. But eventually we entered a casino and started gambling. First I thought this was nothing special but eventually I started to like it. I started to get back even when I was sober and one day realized that I couldn’t live without gambling anymore because it had become an addiction.” My brother looked at me and I knew that he understood me now. “Apparently I wasn’t a really good gambler because weeks after I had started I had lost more money than I had gained and it got worse. Then I wasn’t able to pay my rent anymore and my landlord eventually kicked me out. The moral of the story probably is that one shouldn’t just another person to quickly because I really understand you now.”
Astonished I mustered my brother because I wasn’t sure if this was a stupid joke but then, why would he come to my apartment after such a long time and joke about something like that? Eventually I started to realize that it was probably true. “And now you come here because all you friends don’t want let a gambling addict sleep at their house?” I asked a little bit angry because of course he would just seek me when there were no other opportunities.
My brother slowly nodded. “I’m sorry, OK, but I understand you now. Addiction isn’t something one wants but it’s something one can’t control anymore at some point and it can happen to everyone so quickly. I know that my behavior was the worst, really, but can I please stay here?”
One part of me almost had to laugh at the desperateness that laid in my brothers’ voice. “You’re wrong about one thing, Brent. Addiction may not be what many people want and it’s true that one really just needs the thing that makes him high after some time but it wasn’t like this for me.” I shortly stopped to think about that. I hated that people who knew would always call me a drug addict even though I definitely wasn’t or hadn’t been either.
“For me it was different. I always had had the control and not the coke. Yeah, there were some times where I had exaggerated but this had just been because of the combination with alcohol – and by now I also know how to deal with that. The thing was or maybe is that I really wanted to take the drugs. Honestly, I could’ve lived without it and there were days or sometimes weeks where I did without problems but I just didn’t have the will to stop because I liked it. You know, there had been a part of me that wanted to be a real drug addict but somehow it hadn’t worked for me.” I had never admitted this to anybody else before and never would to another person but Brent didn’t matter now.
“I love the destruction, I love the problems, I love that apparently everybody things that I really need that stuff. Well, the latter is rather annoying but kind of funny too.” I started laughing and Brent looked at me as if I was a total psychopath. Well, maybe I was. How would I know?
“So, if your little pitiful ass still wants to stay here tonight you’re invited to use the guest room. But be careful that I don’t kill you tonight.” I ended even though we both knew that the latter was a joke. I may be a little bit crazy but I definitely wouldn’t kill him in his sleep. Without another word Brent eventually took his little bag and got into the guest room that was located next to the bathroom.
I laughed because this situation had just been ridiculous and then got to my own bedroom too just when I realized that I was really hungry because it was pretty late now and I didn’t have dinner now. Keltie wasn’t here and because I didn’t want to meet her or rather cook anything myself I decided to order something at Domino’s Pizza because that was the most convenient alternative.
I ordered a Pizza Hawaii because that was my favorite and I loved how everybody always criticized this piece of gold. I honestly wanted to meet the person who thought about putting pineapples on a pizza because they must’ve been a genius. Because of the soon arriving pizza I got back to the living room but everything was still quiet so Brent was probably still in the guest room.
I put on the TV I had bought when I had moved back here because I had realized that I had never had one before. First it had been the lack of money, then the lack of time but now I definitely had enough of both factors. I zapped from one channel to another but didn’t find anything interesting. It was always weird how some channels were still black and white and others were colorful so everytime I would change the channel it was a little torture for the eyes.
Eventually I got stuck on a movie I had never heard of before. But then, I also hadn’t had time to watch that many movies before. I had just developed all of this in the last year. About twenty minutes later somebody finally knocked on my door and I got there to take the delivery of the picture happily.
I knew that I would have to occupy myself with many problems tomorrow – I would’ve to talk about things with Keltie, I would’ve to think about what to do with my brother, I would’ve to think about my future – but this all wouldn’t be today. I wanted to have just one day for myself where my problems didn’t exist for some time.
I took the package with my beloved pizza to the sofa and sat down again just to see that I was apparently watching some romantic movie. The woman and the guy looked at each other desperately and eventually kissed. I started to wonder if it really was like that – if Brendon and I had also looked at each other like that before we would’ve kissed.
Just when I thought about that Brent saved me from my bad thoughts because he got out of the guest room. We quickly looked at each other and eventually my brother joined me on the sofa. There was an adequate distance between us because neither of us really knew how to act. Brent glanced at my pizza and then at the TV where the couple was now happily looking at each other. If he thought it was weird that I – a guy – was watching a romantic movie he didn’t say so and I was grateful for that.
“You can grab a piece if you want.” I eventually said because I was able to see how he didn’t dare to ask if he could have some pizza. “But I’m warning you: There’s pineapple on it.” We quickly glanced at each other and for a few moments it was as if everything had always been so – as if we had grown up together, as if our parents were still alive, as if he hadn’t left me.
“You’re weird.” Brent simply said and I started to laugh. “Maybe I am.” I answered. “But who wants to be normal anyways?”
***
The following three months flew by incredibly fast. I was now in the studio every day to record my solo album, Brent was still living with me but neither of us dared to talk about the important things and I had eventually decided to go to Keltie’s apartment and things were also great between us now. At least she thought so.
I had finished recording the last song of my album the day before and now had to fly to Chicago to visit Pete. Partly this would be a business visit but also a visit of a friend. I had been on the other side of the country a few times in the last weeks because of the album but this would probably be the last visit for some time.
The album would come out in about one month and shortly after that I would start going on tour. First there would just be an US tour because we first had to estimate how people were going to like the album. I was actually already excited – also because I wouldn’t see my girlfriend for some time when I was on tour because Keltie wouldn’t be able to join me because her job that was here in Las Vegas.
I walked down the halls of the airport that was always crowded. But this was Las Vegas so there were always too many people on business or on vacation. Actually Pete had also offered me a private jet but I had declined because I wanted to fly in a normal plane for once and I didn’t want the big dramatic performance arriving with a limousine and everything.
Of course I wore my sunglasses so because of the latter and the fact that nobody would expect a famous person like me walking down this hallway it was almost impossible to recognize me directly. I quickly got to the check in and was fortunate enough that the woman on the counter didn’t say anything when she saw my name on my passport – or maybe she just didn’t recognize me for a change.
Generally fewer fans would talk to me since I had left the band but there were still some who would and I wanted to prevent that. Nobody but the crew knew about the upcoming album yet because I wanted it to be a surprise. All the fans thought that I wouldn’t come back and then they would already get an album like one and a half years after I had left the band and this thought made me excited.
“Have a good flight, Mr. Ross.” The woman eventually said smiling at me like at every other costumer. I nodded and made my way to the gate that stood on the ticket. Apparently I had to cross almost the entire airport to get there but eventually I found it. The seating area was already overcrowded because I was a little bit late but they would start invoking the people soon anyways.
I remembered the first and only time before I had joined the band where I had flown with my parents. We had never had much money but back then it had kind of been my birthday present because I had always wanted to fly so badly. We had flown from Las Vegas to Denver – probably because the flight hadn’t been so expensive. Back then this had been the most special experience for me.
And now flying had become the most unusual thing for me and I wasn’t even able to count anymore how often I had actually flown. The stewardess eventually started to announce that people could get on the plane now and people immediately stood up to be the first one in the row. I didn’t care – in fact I wanted to be one of the last ones so nobody would recognize me – but then I realized that I had first class tickets and when you had them you always had to be at the beginning of the row.
Unnoticeable I got there and gave the woman my tickets. Fortunately nobody had recognized me so far and I got into the plane through the duct. I sat down in the front row next to an already sleeping old man without further complications which actually wondered me. One tiny part was just waiting for something major to happen because it always did in the end.
I decided to sleep too because I had experienced a major lack of sleep recently and the flight would at least last three hours or more – I didn’t know exactly. I ignored the sounds, blended out the people around me who were wondering why someone would wear sunglasses in a plane and eventually fell asleep.
I was eventually awoken as the plane landed on the earth with a slight shaking and realized that we had already arrived in Chicago. Then I got up, grabbed my back and got out of the plane. I realized that it was actually snowing slightly which was never the case in my hometown. Even in winter it was way too warm there so the snow was a welcome change for once.
The people got into the bus that was standing in front of the plane and I just wanted to follow them as I saw Pete standing on the side next to – of course – a limousine. That was exactly what I wanted to prevent because now everybody would be staring at me and wonder who I was.
I got over to Pete and we quickly embraced. “Do you really think that I would’ve let you drive with that filthy bus?” My friend greeted me and I realized that the limousine probably really was the better alternative. We quickly got in because everybody was already staring at us and some guy took my bag to put it in the car trunk.
“I thought that you could stay with us this time because why not? I actually haven’t thought of this before but why should we pay for a hotel if you can also stay with us? I mean our house is definitely big enough. Is that OK?” The bassist asked and I quickly nodded. I had visited him before and the house really was big so if I didn’t want to see anyone else I wouldn’t.
The driver directed the car through streets I had frequently seen in the last months but never when it had been snowing. “It’s beautiful, isn’t it? I always think about what a miracle snow is. You know, it’s technically just water coming from the clouds but in such a beautiful form, it’s astonishing.” Pete started to talk and I just nodded.
“Bronx will be thrilled because it’s his first winter now. Sometimes there’s still snow in April – but really barely – where he was born but this wasn’t the case this year. I know that he isn’t even able to talk or speak but I feel like he still enjoys it, you know?” Pete again couldn’t stop talking about his son and I realized how much he had changed since he had him.
I had never wanted to have children and I still didn’t want to because of many reasons. First of all, I didn’t really like them and could never imagine to be a father. Second, I would probably never find the right person to get kids with. And thirdly and probably most importantly, I felt like I was way fucked up to get children. What could I possibly teach them?
“How is Bronx anyways? And what about Ashlee?” I eventually asked because I realized that it was proper to ask that. “They’re both great. And especially Bronx is already so excited to see his Uncle Ryan.” Pete laughed. Bronx was probably the only child I liked and I didn’t even know why. Maybe it was because it was my friend’s child and I kind of felt like I was supposed to like him or maybe it was also something else.
The vehicle eventually stopped in front of Pete’s house that was elegant but somehow still not too much and it was obvious that the bassist didn’t want to splurge like many other famous people did. We got out of the car and entered the building where Ashlee was already waiting for us holding a little package that was probably her son in her hands.
“Hey Ryan.” She greeted me unlike Pete who would always start talking straightforward. “We have to be silent because Bronx just fell asleep and I don’t want him to wake up. So I’m quickly bringing him to bed, OK.” I barely had the chance to return the greeting because she already went upstairs and Pete started laughing.
Let’s go to the kitchen. You’re probably hungry, right?” Pete eventually said. He knew me too well as I realized that I actually hadn’t eaten anything for hours. “There is still some leftover pasta I guess.” The bassist opened a pot and nodded. “Do you want some?” I nodded and shortly after we were both eating in silence.
I had planned to stay in Chicago for four days because that was definitely enough time to talk about the important things but also enjoy the time a little bit. “Do you maybe want to go out?” I asked Pete as we had finished eating. “You know me too well.” He answered and so we told his wife that we would go somewhere and eventually did.
Because it was almost winter it was already dark as we got outside plus I was freezing in my light coat but I didn’t say anything. We would probably go to a club or somewhere else anyways so I wouldn’t have to bear the cold for such a long time. “There’s this new club a few blocks from here and I had always wanted to go there but couldn’t find the time until now. Would you mind?” My friend said as if he was able to read my thoughts.
“That’d be great.” I answered and we quickly got there. As we arrived there was a great line because the club was new but of course Pete had a VIP pass and got in immediately as the bouncer saw him. We entered the room where many people were dancing and having a great time. In the end every club was the same. There could be as many special decorations, special music or special events as the owner wanted but it would always be people dancing and making out at the end of the evening.
We quickly entered the VIP area which was divided in many smaller areas where every group had a little privacy. Pete started to go near a group that consisted of three guys and two girls. One girl and one guy were already making out sitting a little bit apart from the other two people who were apparently talking about anything and laughing.
“Hey guys.” Pete started talking as we reached the group. “This is Ryan Ross. He is…” “Of course I know who he is.” The bassist was immediately interrupted by one of the guys. Great, he apparently was a fan. “You’re the Ryan Ross who has lived the dream life of every fan for one year. Apparently out of nowhere you have become a member of the fucking Social Busters and nobody knew you before. Then you went on tour with them and became so to say famous overnight. Everybody knows him, Pete.” The guy finally finished and looked at Pete and me.
“I guess I can recall what has happened the best.” I said because this guy literally just told me about myself as if I was some stranger who wanted to know something about Ryan Ross. The group laughed – well, excluding the kissing couple.
“You have to excuse Elliott. Sometimes he gets a little bit overexcited especially because he is a really big fan of you.” One of the other guys eventually said and I looked at the fan who was apparently called Elliott again. He was really good-looking with his brown hair and his brown eyes. But the most catching thing was probably his smile that was so genuine and that was something one wouldn’t see often.
“Would you please excuse me for a second? I have to go to the toilet?” I eventually said and made my way there without waiting for an answer. I searched for the place I wanted to go for some time but eventually realized that it was located just in front of me. That was one of my many flaws: I would always seek things everywhere but wouldn’t realize that they were directly in front of me.
Eventually I got into the toilet that was just as messy as one would imagine it to be. I looked at myself in the mirror and wondered who this man was. What had I become? There were days where I would wish to go back two and a half years ago where I had been just some random hard-working guy but there were more days where I wouldn’t wish to do so and today was also one of the latter.
The door opened and I saw that it was this Elliott guy who came in. “Sorry about before.” He immediately said as he stood in front of the urinal. “Forget about that. I’m used to situations that are sometimes even worse than that.” I quickly answered even though that wasn’t exactly true. I had been kind of used to that but now I hadn’t talked to a fan in a really long time.
“Other question: How do you know Pete?” I added because this was actually something I was curious about. “I’m actually the band’s photographer.” He answered briefly.
“Other question: Do you have a girlfriend?” Elliott asked completely out of context. I didn’t know why I answered in the first place but when a silent “No.” came out of my mind I was even more confused. I had a girlfriend. Keltie was my girlfriend so why wouldn’t I tell this guy I just knew for a few minutes and was already lying to.
“Yeah, I thought so.” He answered smiling and just then I noticed the looks he was giving me. These were definitely not G-rated and I realized what this was all about. I also inspected Elliott quickly but then I remembered that this was a guy – a fan – and one I didn’t even know.
Even though I was sober and even though I should’ve known better I slowly went into the toilet and Elliott followed me closing up behind him. For a few seconds we were just standing there but then I couldn’t hold myself back any longer and kissed him hardly. The kiss was completely messy but that was what I needed so much. Why hadn’t I done this before?
Elliott tasted different than another person I had in mind in this moment. He was supposed to be another person after all but he wasn’t and I immediately hated myself for using this guy just because he had the same hair and eye color as him and also looked very handsome.
I knew that what I was doing was completely wrong – I knew that I should’ve known better but I couldn’t stop kissing him – exchanging my saliva with his as if he would be a completely different person – as if I would drown if I stopped this messy kiss.

Chapter Text

My album Beasts Of Beauty had come out a few weeks ago and I was more than thrilled to start the tour today. I would cruise through the whole US and there would be approximately 36 shows in total. I knew that this was very much but I just hoped that it would be different this time because I was alone now.
When the fans had heard about the new album they had completely freaked out and it had been sold out everywhere very soon. Now I thought that there were probably two types of fans: One group was happy that I had released something new and liked it while the other group had expected something else and was now disappointed. But I guess there were always people who didn’t like my stuff and this was OK.
The tour would start in Uncasville, Connecticut and the plane was just about to land there. This time I had taken the private jet Pete had offered me just because I didn’t want to be recognized by fans and the possibility now that people knew that I was back would be much higher. It was weird to travel with so many other people now and considering the fact that none of them were actually in a band with me – they were just touring musicians to help me out on stage.
Andy Soukal was one of Pete’s friends and now my bassist because he was always touring with musicians like me. Nick Murray would be my drummer and I had met him when I had been in the studio one day. Last but not least Mike Narran was supposed to be the second guitar player and he had actually been one of the guys who had been in this club in Chicago on that evening. I was actually getting along with all these guys pretty well but I knew that it wasn’t the same as being in an actual band.
Eventually the plane came to a stop and as we got out I saw that it was actually snowing. It was weird because when I had been a young boy I had barely seen snow because we almost never got out of Las Vegas and it was always way too hot there to be snowing. And now it would be snowing in many cities because it was January and I realized that I should probably get used to that.
As we walked the few steps to the tour bus I realized how close we were to New York City now – and we would get even closer – because I had probably never been this close to the doomed city since I had moved away like one and a half years ago. I knew that we would play a show there soon but I wasn’t ready for that. Brendon would probably hear about it because almost everybody knew that the infamous Ryan Ross was back now and it frightened me.
“You coming, Ryan?” My bassist asked because I was just standing next to the bus for a few seconds. Eventually I got in and inspected it quickly from the inside. There were some seats in the front and a little kitchen in the middle. All in all it looked similar to every tour bus I had been in until now, it was just a little bit smaller and there were just eight bunks and no extra bedroom there. Instead of the latter there was the toilet at the other end of the bus.
A crew member whose name I didn’t even try to remember eventually started the bus and we all sat down after we had put our luggage somewhere. “So, what do you plan to do until the show starts?” Nick eventually asked because there were a few hours left and because I wouldn’t play in such a big concert hall I was used to play in I wouldn’t have to get there so early.
“I guess I’m just going to stay in the bus and relax a little bit.” I replied. “Why, do you guys have planned anything special?” The drummer shook his head. “No, not really. We just thought that maybe you had.” He said sadly. I knew that I was probably a boring person to travel with because the only thing I could do properly was going to parties, taking coke and drinking – even though I had also failed at these things sometimes.
But then I realized that I didn’t owe these guys anything because we weren’t actually one band. “You guys can do something if you want. I’m just not in the mood right now.” I then answered because I felt like they would just do something when I would be there which was ridiculous. The three guys eventually looked at each other. “Yeah, we’ll see.” Andy answered and the silence spread between us again.
The tour bus came to a halt in a little harbor of trees and I was able to see the concert hall through the window about half a mile away. The guys and the rest of the crew eventually got out and didn’t answer my decision to stay here alone. I had always liked to be alone sometimes but there were also moments where I didn’t want to be alone.
One things war sure: Before I would go out on the stage and face so many people I would first have to be alone for some time. I knew that I would eventually have to go out and face the reality again but I needed some moments of silence.
There was an interview I had to give before the concert would begin – it was kind of obvious that everybody wanted to interview me now that I was back – and I was actually surprised that it would be just one. It would be my first interview in more than eighteen months and I knew that I wasn’t used to giving them anymore but there was no way to not do it.
After some time – I couldn’t even tell how much time had passed but it was already getting dark slowly – I slowly made my way to the concert hall and was surprised that nobody saw and recognized me. Maybe everybody thought that I would already be in the backstage area but I just got in through the back door now.
“Great that you’re here, Ryan. I just wanted to come to the bus to get you.” Ian, my manager, greeted me. He seemed very stress but that was probably because this was his first real job as a manager. So far I couldn’t find any reason why he should really be stressed because he was doing his job just fine. “The lady is already waiting there.” His finger pointed towards a room at the end of the hallway we were currently standing in. “I know that you haven’t done this in a long time but just remember to not tell them to much and always stay polite even when they ask you inappropriate questions, OK?”
Ian’s face reflected his stress so bad that I almost had to laugh. Apparently I still had the talent to wanting to laugh in inappropriate situations. Instead I nodded and eventually got to the room where the interview would take place. As Ian had said there was already a young woman waiting for me – usually interviewers would be young woman – plus two guys who would actuate the camera and control the rest of the technology.
“Hello Mr. Ross. It’s an honor to have you here today.” The woman eventually started as I sat down face-to-face with her. “Your album came out almost four weeks ago now and the opinions are widely spread about it. There are many people who love it but almost as many who hate it. What did you want to prove whit this different musical style?”
“I didn’t want to prove anything to be honest. I just tried to be myself and I had already realized when I had been in the band that this was something different from the style of the Social Busters. I’m just trying to make music I love – music that means something.” I answered and was proud of myself because that was probably a good answer.
“Yeah. About the band again. The Social Busters have claimed that you as well as Jon Walker have both left the band because of creative differences. But this honestly seems to be a little bit strange for me because you have said in interviews before that you had been a great fan of the band when you hadn’t been a part of it yet so how is it possible that there had been creative differences so soon?” This question was one of the sort Ian had talked about earlier. But I knew that I had to stay polite and the smile didn’t slip out of position.
“It may be hard to understand for you but there really had been creative differences so soon.” That was a lie because the latter had just been an excuse for the press even though a really bad one. “When we had still been on tour we had started to talk about upcoming albums and Brendon’s as well as Spencer’s ideas just hadn’t been the same as Jon’s and mine. And then there had also been the accident – I don’t know something had changed for me and I knew that I just couldn’t do that any longer.” I added the last thing because it was actually true and hoped that it would maybe satisfy the interviewer – but of course it didn’t.
“How has your relationship with Rage Against The Death actually been? There were rumors that you had actually been friends with some members before they formed a band. Are they true?” The woman continued and I realized that this interview wasn’t really about my upcoming tour or the new album because the woman just wanted to find out what had happened with the band. But then I couldn’t blame her or the fans for that.
“Yes, they are.” I started to tell the truth. “Mikey Way had actually been my best friend for years and he still is so I already knew his brother Gerard too. But I had met the others when we were on tour in Australia. Even though I haven’t known there for a long time it was a great shock for everybody because this accident could’ve killed everybody.” I remembered when we had been in Germany and when the officer had told us that somebody might have caused the accident intentionally but fortunately this hadn’t been the case.
“Now I’m confused. I thought that Spencer Smith has been your best friend since you were both young?” The woman continued and I slowly couldn’t control my anger anymore even though I knew that I had to. “Can’t a person have two best friends?” I roughly said but immediately smiled again because I had to keep my façade.
“Of course. So how is your relationship to Spencer Smith now that you’ve both left the band?” ”It’s just fine.” I shortly said and this was my final word – we both knew that. The interviewer continued to finally ask me some questions that were actually about Beasts Of Beauty, the upcoming tour or generally my future plans.
When the interview was finally over I almost fled out of the room and eventually got into the backstage area where everybody was already busy preparing to get on stage. The times where I would put fancy make up on my face and wear crazy costumes were definitely over – I was too old for that or maybe it was just because everything had changed – even though I sometimes missed doing that.
Instead a woman just put some powder and other things on my face so I wouldn’t look like a complete idiot when I would start sweating. The others were also ready and I breathed deeply one last time when I finally got on the stage after such a long time. It was weird because when I had still been part of the Social Busters I had always been the second person to go on stage. Now I was the first one and the only one the people were really interested in.
The fans started to scream when they saw me and I started to smile genuinely. Even though playing live had caused me severe problems before I knew that I had honestly missed it and was now glad to be back.
“Hello Uncasville. How are you guys today?” I started to talk and the crowd started to cheer. “It’s great to finally be back on stage again! This first song is called ‘Maybe I will, Maybe I won’t’ and it goes like this.” We started to play and I felt like one part that had always appeared to be missing in the last one and a half year was finally here now – this part was playing live in front of people who enjoyed my music.
“And now we have a special guest here.” Mike said when we were currently playing the second last song. I had no idea whom he was talking about and probably looked as confused and excited at the fans. One part of me hoped that it would be a special person and this part wasn’t really small but this would just be ridiculous.
Instead of the person I had hoped for Pete Wentz eventually appeared on the stage while he smiled widely. My friend was holding his bass guitar in his hand which meant that he would probably play with us at some point. Andy who was supposed to be my bassist quickly got away from the microphone to stand just a few steps next to it. Apparently everybody here had known about this special guest. Everyone but me.
“Hello guys.” Pete said laughing as he stood in front of the microphone and the crowd’s screams were unbelievably loud. Pete of course was extremely famous now. In the last months I felt like the Dark Blue Lions had apparently replaced the Social Busters because since Brendon was the only member left the fans definitely preferred Pete’s band.
“I have to tell you a little secret.” He started and I realized that the bassist was the born performer. There was just this aura about him that made one remember him and every band needed someone like that. I knew that I could be a great performer too but I would never be as good as Pete was naturally. “Ryan didn’t know that I would come here today because it was supposed to be a surprise and I think it worked or what do you say?” Pete and the crowd were looking at my still surprised face and the screams became louder again.
“I really am surprised, Pete.” I eventually said as the crowd calmed down. “You know, guys, there’s something you should know too. This guy here always acts like he is really tough and invincible – well he kind of is to be honest – but he is also the nicest person ever and so genuine with his son.” I laughed and the crowd did too.
Pete came over to where I was standing and we quickly embraced each other which caused another screaming wave. “Well, do you want us to play a song together now? What should we play, Ryan?” The crowd escalated so I waited a few seconds before I answered. “What about ‘Saturday’?” This song was one of my favorites off their first and until now only record but I was pretty sure that they would drop even more great records in the future. Also the vibe of the song was so different than the music I would play these days and I really liked the change.
Everybody prepared themselves and eventually we started to play.
I'm good to go
And I'm going nowhere fast
It could be worse
I could be taking you there with me
I'm good to go
But it looks like I'm still on my own
After we had finished the song we continued to play two more songs of mine with Pete and then the concert was already over. I had played every single song I had written and recorded and I just felt amazing now. “You were great, Ryan.” Pete said as we got backstage and sat down to relax a little bit. I looked at him and was just a little bit jealous. “Not as good as you. How do you do that?” I replied but he just sighed.
“Anyways, how and why did you get here?” I changed the topic and grabbed a bottle of water because I felt like I was extremely dehydrated. “Well, I called Andy and told him that I wanted to surprise you and the rest of the band agreed that I could play some shows in place of Andy. He is a touring bassist anyways.” “You’re going on tour with us?” I was even more surprised.
“Yeah, why not? My band has a little break now and Ashlee told me that I’m already annoying at home because everybody would know that I belonged on stage. So I will stay until your show in Rosemont and then I’ll head home because that’s just a few miles apart from there. I thought that would be great to go on tour with you or don’t you want me to?” The bassist’s face became confused.
“Of course I want you to. That’s really great. I’m just still so surprised, that’s all.” I eventually replied. “Isn’t it weird that the person who has founded the record label I have a contract with comes on tour with me now?” I asked laughing. “I don’t think so. And even if it is I don’t care.” Pete replied and we were both smiling. It was great to have him as a friend and I was really excited to spend the next weeks on tour with him.
***
There was nothing special going on in my life right now. The tour which hadn’t been the greatest success after all was long over and I was again in a state where I didn’t know what to do next. It wasn’t even that the tour had been very bad after all but it just hadn’t been what I had expected and I had felt that there were more people who disliked my new music than people who actually came to my concerts because they enjoyed the album.
Now it was June and I was laying in my bed with Keltie. Sometimes I was wondering why we actually were together after all this time. She was now living with me and somehow Brent was also still here. But my apartment had much space for many people anyways.
“Do you sometimes feel like you’re living not just one life but that every time a new period starts and something changes it is like you also start living a new life?” I asked my girlfriend who was laying on my chest. It was one of these impossibly hot Vegas Nights again where the air just wouldn’t cool down and everything was sticking on your body.
“I know what you mean. After I have finished high school I felt like this too. A few years later as I have looked back to this time it was as if I had been a completely different person back then. There are some milestones in your life sometimes where you’re just not the same in the end.” I felt like the current version of myself was probably the one I disliked the most even though that was weird because I had behaved much worse before.
I also felt like Keltie and I had grown with our relationship so we were at least able to talk about more deep things now and not just fuck or talk about random shit. “You know what’s weird? I feel like a new life will start for me soon but I don’t even know why? I mean I have no plans and nothing that might change so soon.” Keltie sat up in my bed and looked at me seriously.
“Well, maybe something will change very abruptly. Maybe something will happen that you haven’t expected and that you haven’t even thought about. Nobody knows what is about to happen. Nobody knows it and that’s why it’s important to live now because that’s the only thing we can do properly.” I looked at the woman who was five years older than me and wondered how she had become completely different in just one year.
“How did you get so intelligent?” I asked laughing as I started to kiss my girlfriend gently. The sun already came out as we finally fell asleep sometime and I thought that maybe this life wasn’t as bad as I thought after all.
I woke up before Keltie a few hours later. Even though I had always been a night owl and would sleep through half of the day this had changed somehow and I would always get up at like 9am no and it didn’t matter how long I would stay awake. As I slowly got into the kitchen I could already smell fresh-brewed coffee. Brent was also an early bird but even worse than me. There were often mornings like this where we would just sit in the kitchen and eat breakfast together because we both had some time. On this mornings life was perfect for a short time.
“Morning, brother.” I greeted him as I entered the kitchen. When I had found out about the existence of my brother a long time ago I had immediately imagined a life with him to look like this and now that it really did and I was happy.
First Brent was supposed to live here for just a short time period. But somehow we became really used to each other plus the rent in Las Vegas or generally in big cities was just so expensive and because I had enough space anyways we had eventually decided that my brother could also stay here. And now all three of us were living here.
“Hey Ryan.” Brent eventually replied because he had just swallowed his sandwich. “There’s a letter for you but I don’t know whom it is from because there was weirdly no name or address on it. I put it just there on the table.” He continued and I looked at the table where a random letter was laying indeed. “Thanks.” I replied, grabbed the letter and my muesli with the milk and eventually sat down on the table next to my brother.
I started eating and then opened the letter. And then I started reading.
Hello Ryan,
You’re hereby invited to our party that will take place on June 24st 1968 at our house. The address is written down below and you should be able to find it easily.
I know that we haven’t talked in like two years but things have ended so badly between us and I want to resolve them at least a little bit plus I really want you to meet somebody.
I would love to have you here. And you can also bring Brent or whomever else you might want to bring. The party starts at 6pm and by the way I have invited anyone. Even though much has happened I still think it will be great to meet each other again.
Much love, Brendon.
He didn’t need to write his second name down because of course I knew who he was. This was Brendon fucking Urie who was inviting me to a fucking party after all these years – after we hadn’t talked in like two years – after all that had happened.
My breath got heavier and Brent looked at me worried. “Everything OK, dude?” He asked me and I quickly nodded because I honestly wasn’t able to do anything else. How did Brendon know where I lived? Well there were phone dictionaries probably or I didn’t know.
I was angry, sad, disappointed, happy – but most of all I was confused. I didn’t know why he would want to see me again now. What had changed and why would I come back in his life again?
But there was one thing I knew for sure: Now it was obvious what would change in my life. Just yesterday I had talked with Keltie about the many lives we would live because every time something major would happen we would become a different person eventually – live a different life.
And this time it would again be Brendon whom I would have to thank for my new life.

Chapter Text

“Ryan, wait!” Brendon screamed as I was walking out of his house – out of his life again. I turned around once more and when I saw the expression on his face it almost broke me and I decided to stop for just a slight second.
“What the fuck do you want from me? Why did you invite me in the first place? Do you somehow want to laugh at me with your girlfriend and the fact that she’s pregnant?” I screamed even though I didn’t want to be angry because of this guy again. But I was. I had actually thought that maybe this party could change things but now they were even worse than before.
“I never wanted any of this to happen, you have to believe me.” Brendon started but I quickly interrupted him. “What didn’t you want to happen? The things between us? Or that I have left the band? That you have a girlfriend now and that she is pregnant? Fuck Brendon, you’re going to be a father!” I continued to scream. There might had been this little part inside me that pitied the former lead singer but the major feeling was just disgust.
“All of this?” Brendon said but it was more a question than a real answer to the questions I had asked before. I turned around again to continue to walk down to my car that was just a few feet away. I was so close to escape this whole thing again. Brendon came over and grabbed my arm. I was so shocked that I couldn’t move for a few seconds but eventually I ripped myself away from his grip. I opened the car door and eventually got in my car but Brendon didn’t let me close the door.
“I don’t know, Ryan.” He started again. “I never wanted my life to be this way in general. I had always imagined that I would be famous someday but I had never thought about the consequences all of this would bring – about the sacrifices I would’ve to make. And now I don’t even know what I want anymore – what this all is anymore.” He looked at me desperately as I started the engine.
“Well, maybe you should’ve thought about that.” I said seriously, quickly closed the door because Brendon was too surprised to notice that and drove away. Again I left him standing there in the dark but everything was different now – it was one year later and now Brendon had a girlfriend and would be a father soon.
I drove way too fast and if the police would stop me now there would be way too much money I would have to pay because the speedometer showed me that I was driving almost twice as fast as it was allowed. But I didn’t care about anything. I just wanted to get out of this doomed city as fast as I could.
Normally one would need like four hours from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and when I had driven to Brendon’s house before I had needed like three and a half hours but on my way back I needed just about two and a half which was incredible. As I reached my apartment eventually it was just 11 pm so everybody would still be awake.
Usually Keltie was a night owl anyways but Brent would usually go asleep around midnight and would just stay awake longer when there was like a party or something. I took the elevator and drove up to the fifth floor. When I opened the door I wasn’t that surprised to see my brother, my girlfriend and my best friend sitting on the couch and watching some movie.
Mikey and Brent had actually become good friends in the course of time and I was happy that both of them got along so well. Now the three people who meant more to me than anything else in my life and who were probably the only constants in my fucked up life looked at me surprised. “I thought you would be back much later.” Mikey started. “How was it?” I mustered them and I quickly glanced at the TV too where some guy was just shooting around manically.
And so I told them everything. I anathematized Mikey because he had talked me into going there because everything had been a complete catastrophe. I knew that my best friend had also gotten an invitation but he had to work today and it wasn’t easy for him to swap his work hours but maybe everything would’ve been different if he would’ve been there after all.
I told them about Brendon’s girlfriend and that she was pregnant now. I told about my little conversation with the former lead singer and that he didn’t even know what he wanted after all. On some level I was able to understand him because I sometimes didn’t even know what I wanted myself but he had been the one who had invited me in the first place and I would’ve expected a little more lucidity.
When I had finished neither of the three knew what to say and I couldn’t blame them. Of course neither of them knew what exactly had happened between Brendon and me exactly and they would never find out because they were the three people closest to me – for Keltie, Brent and Mikey Brendon and I had just been really good friends who had difficulties.
“I just don’t get why Brendon would send you this invitation where he tells you that he wants to clear things up and then tell you that his girlfriend is pregnant. I mean why does this matter after all?” Mikey responded eventually. Oh, he didn’t know how much it mattered actually but I wouldn’t tell him.
I shrugged and we all sat there in silence for some moments. “OK, as much as I would love to stay I have to go because I’m pretty exhausted from work.” Mikey said and I decided to lead him out of the apartment. My best friend was still working in the car repair shop I had worked in too three years before but now he was the manager of the shop. This meant that he got much more money but he also had less free time.
Mikey took his jacket and gave me a slight smile. I decided to tell him about the conversation I had had with his brother earlier. “There’s something I wanted to tell you in private.” I started, took my keys and we both got out of my apartment. We were now standing in the hallway so nobody would hear us – at least not Keltie and Brent.
“You know that thing about Gerard you’ve told me years before. You know where you have still taken drugs and got so angry about that…” I stuttered because somehow I wasn’t able to say the words properly. “He’s gay, yes.” Mikey said and his voice sounded so calm – so normal as if it wouldn’t be something that most people would hate. I quickly looked in both directions and inspected the hallway for people. I knew that other people’s opinions shouldn’t matter and normally they wouldn’t but I was still famous and everything was different now.
“Yeah right. Actually he has told me something today that shocked me a little bit.” I continued to say quietly. I inspected the area again. “Did you now that he and Frank had a thing? That he had actually been … in love with him? That he still is?” As the words had left my mouth I mustered Mikey and was surprised that his face was still as calm as it had been before.
“I know because they had actually been the ones I had seen fucking once.” Mikey started and I remembered this time where he had told me about that outraged. “Even though this is something I would definitely prefer to forget Gerard has told me everything after all and I honestly feel sorry for him. You know that I’m not the shitty guy I have been back then, right? You know that this had been because of the drugs, right Ryan?” “Of course, Mikey.” I replied because I did. It was obvious that he was a completely different person now.
“So why are you talking about that anyways? And why has Gerard told you?” Mikey was wondering and I decided that I had to tell him right now. I had to tell someone or else I would probably explode and my best friend was probably the best choice considering that the two people in my apartment were my girlfriend and my brother and I definitely wouldn’t tell them.
“Please don’t freak out now but I just have to tell somebody. I have been in a … let’s say similar situation as Gerard and your brother somehow knows that.” Mikey needed a few seconds to process what I had just said and I was almost able to see the wheels moving in his brain as he did. When he finally understood what I had just said he looked at me shocked and surprised – but at least not disgusted.
“You mean… you and Brendon… what… when?” He almost screamed and I immediately shut his mouth because we were still standing in the hallway which probably hadn’t been my brightest idea after all. And so I started to tell him everything starting with the first time we had kissed, then the first time we had fucked and how we both had realized that this thing would never work. at some point in my story a neighbor of mine left his apartment and crossed our way and when he was gone Mikey and I started laughing like sixteen year old teenagers.
There were just three apartments including mine on the fifth floor so it was very rare that one would actually meet other people in the hallway plus it was almost midnight now so I had been really perplex first when this guy had left his apartment.
“So what? Are you in love with Brendon?” Mikey eventually asked as I had finished telling him everything. I was surprised by how calm he reacted but then I shouldn’t be because I knew that he wasn’t that judging arsehole he had just been because of the drugs anymore. I thought about the question. In the summer of ’66 when Brendon and I had seen each other the last time and where we had shared one last kiss I definitely would’ve answered this question with ‘Yes.’” I could still remember how the realization that I was in love with the lead singer had hit me like a truck before on that evening.
But now I didn’t know how to answer this question. I thought about my relationship with Keltie that was the longest I had ever had – we were now together for like one and a half year – and wondered if I even loved her. I knew that I liked her very much but I probably didn’t love her and that was probably what was wrong with me. Was I even capable to love somebody else?
After all this time maybe one part of me was still in love with Brendon. Maybe that was the reason why I couldn’t love somebody else. Maybe Brendon was the reason why I couldn’t love a woman. Maybe Brendon was the one who made my life incredibly hard because it would be so much easier if I would just love Keltie.
For the second time in my life the realization that I was probably in love with Brendon – with a guy – hit me like a truck. How was it possible that I still was after all this time? I sighed and silently answered. “I guess.” Mikey glanced at me. “That would explain probably everything, Ryan.” My best friend answered. “But what about Keltie?”
“I don’t know, Mikey. It’s not like I will live happily ever after with Brendon now. I mean he has a girlfriend now and he’s going to be a father. Mikey, he’s going to have a fucking child.” My voice sounded so desperate that I was almost ashamed of it but then I thought that I shouldn’t be because this was Mikey. “I’m probably not better than Brendon. Actually we’re probably in a very similar situation because I also have no idea what I want actually. I mean I know that Brendon isn’t in love with me obviously because he has a girlfriend now but I don’t know what to do now. The person I love doesn’t love me back and I don’t fucking know what to do now!”
Mikey looked at me merciful and now it was definitely visible that he and Gerard were brothers because the older guy had worn the same expression on his face just a few hours ago. I hated this look because I didn’t want to be pitied. “I think I want to be alone right now, Mikey.” I said and my best friend nodded. I knew that I had to stay together with Keltie because she was the nearest thing to a normal life I would ever get. It was unfair for her because I didn’t love her but what else was I supposed to do?
“I guess I’ll just leave then.” Were Mikey’s final words as he got to the elevator and I nodded. I watched as the elevator arrived on the fifth floor and as he got in. We exchanged one last look but then he was already on his way downstairs. He would eventually go back to his wife and his daughter Rowan who were probably already sleeping and he would smile when he would see them and be happy to be home. I had seen the three of them before and was pretty sure that they were the definition of real love. I wondered if I would ever experience this kind of love with another person who would also return it.
Eventually I got back into the apartment to see that Brent and Keltie were still sitting on the sofa even though the movie was already over. “I think I’m going to sleep now.” Brent said as he saw me enter the apartment again as if he had read my mind. It was already past the usual time where he would go to bed and I quickly nodded as he got into his room.
After my brother had appeared in front of my apartment we had agreed that Brent would just live here for a short time but eventually we got along really well and I had decided that I would change the guest room so it could be his room. Now it usually was as if we had always lived together – as if we had always been brothers. I knew that we were technically just half-brothers but it didn’t matter to me.
Keltie was now inspecting me. “What were you and Mikey talking about so secretly?” She said skeptically. “Nothing really.” I told her the probably biggest lie I would ever tell another person until now. “It was just… Men’s stuff you know?” I was pretty sure that there wasn’t even a thing like that but my girlfriend eventually nodded.
Keltie stood up and wanted to enter the bedroom but I stayed in the living room like I was melted on the ground. “You coming?” My girlfriend eventually asked me. “No I think not. I kind of have to be alone tonight. You know, after what happened before I just need that.” I created a good excuse. Keltie nodded and eventually closed the bedroom door behind her. Today she would still believe me because it was a good excuse but sometime I would have to go back and sleep in one room with her.
Eventually I got up and entered my favorite room of the apartment. I had created one room just for my music – there were guitars of course and some other instruments but also many notebooks where I would write down my thoughts and song ideas. The highlight was a record player and a great collection of several records. Then there was also a big bookshelf because I had actually gotten many song ideas because of literature and I generally enjoyed reading.
Lastly there was also a small couch because I would sometimes spend hours and hours just in this room. I had also used this couch sometimes when Keltie and I had had a fight and didn’t want to sleep in the same room so now it was also very convenient.
I grabbed ‘The Picture Of Dorian Gray’ – the book I was currently reading – and laid down on the couch. I had heard some rumors before that Oscar Wilde had been gay and because of that his works had been highly criticized because he had lived in the second half of the nineteenth century. I didn’t know if that was true but I honestly didn’t understand how this always mattered. Why did people always care about another person’s sexuality? It was their personal thing but nobody apparently accepted that.
Slowly I started to get tired and decided to put the book away. The couch wasn’t as comfortable as my bed but it was definitely OK and I was used to sleep at even worse places. I remembered the time I had lived on the streets and where I sometimes had to sleep with just a tiny blanket on the floor. Now I probably would’ve severe problems doing that because I had become too spoiled and too used to sleeping in a comfortable bed.
Plus I was older now. Everything was easier when one was younger. Even though it was hard to imagine now – and even though I myself had had the toughest time of my life when I had been a teenager – I realized that now that I was older. When one was younger one had to worry about different things but now I had reached this point where I had to make the hardest decisions. Even though it hadn’t been a great time at all I sometimes wished to be that teenage boy who was living on the streets again.
Even though I was pretty exhausted already I just couldn’t fall asleep somehow. There were too many things in my head – too many things I had to worry about. For the first time in forever I allowed myself to directly think about Brendon Urie. Now I knew that I was still in love with him or maybe always had been I saw him in a completely different light. What had this thing between us meant to him? When we had fucked what had he felt? Did he maybe feel the same as I did? But then I thought that this was completely ridiculous. Brendon had a girlfriend now and would soon have a child. Every person had seen how much he really loved them both. Unlike my relationship with Keltie this was real love.
I wondered if two guys were even able to truly love each other. Gerard had told me that he loved Frank but apparently Frank didn’t have the same feelings because he also had a girl now. Maybe there just were some guys like us who had to live the life without love because their feelings would never be returned.
Rolling around on the couch didn’t make sense anymore so I eventually got up again. I was about to do something I hadn’t done in a long time. Slowly I made my way to the bathroom and locked up the door as I entered it. I always had some coke for an emergency like this at home and even though – as I had mentioned several times – I wasn’t really addicted to that stuff I sometimes just needed it and now was one of these moments.
I grabbed the little package that was hidden behind the bathroom cabinet very well and took some of the white powder. Wasn’t it incredible how just a little bit of this seemingly harmless substance could make one feel better? I snorted the drug through my nose and quickly hid the package again. I knew that neither Keltie nor Brent or Mikey would approve of what I did but the problem was that they didn’t understand my complicated relationship with the coke and they would just want me to recover which wasn’t even necessary.
I opened the bathroom door again and quickly got out of there. Everything was quiet because both Keltie and Brent were probably asleep. A glance at the watch showed me that it was already one thirty am. There were nights were I just couldn’t sleep and I felt like this would be one of those.
Silently I made my way back to the living room and put on the TV because I had nothing better to do anyways. I zapped through the several channels and almost screamed when Brendon’s face appeared on the device. I turned on the sound and listened to what the news speaker was talking about him.

Anonymous sources told us that former lead singer of the Social Busters apparently had a big party on this evening. Many people had been invited including members of the band itself as well as members of the also broken up band Rage Against The Death and last but not least members of the extremely successful band Dark Blue Lions. Apparently this was supposed to be a big reunion because the three bands had been on tour with each other at some point but haven’t talked for years now.
Many of you might still remember the accident that had happened near Bielefeld in Germany in the summer of ’66. Back then two members of Rage Against The Death had died there and this had been the main reason for the break up. The departure of Ryan Ross and Jon Walker that was announced a few days after the accident had happened had apparently been caused by creative differences. Peculiarly Spencer Smith had eventually left the Social Busters too after some time so Brendon Urie had been the only remaining member. The lead singer had tried to continue to make music but very fast it was obvious that he would fail so he had announced the complete end of the Social Busters and now apparently lives a happily ever after with his girlfriend.
Who is this mysterious woman and what was the real reason for the party? Nobody really knows but maybe we’ll find out soon.
Now on to the sports…

How did the press find out about the party? Who had told them? I didn’t know all the people who had been there but I was pretty sure that no band member would’ve told them because we all knew how annoying reporters usually were. I breathed deeply before I put off the TV again. I had definitely seen enough now.
Silently I made my way back to the arts room – as I liked to call it because there were so many artistic things in it – and got back on my couch. I somehow had the great desire to put on a record from the Social Busters – the band that I used to love so much and that I had apparently destroyed when I had become a part of it.
I still had one copy of each album and eventually decided that I wanted to listen to the second one. Somehow many of my favorite songs were on it. The band had grown since they had dropped the first album but everything wasn’t as fucked up yet as it had been after they had dropped the third one. Zero Gravity would also cause way too many hidden emotions to come up again.
After I had grabbed the second album I went over to the record player and eventually put it on. It was weird to listen to the album at this point of my life. I had always listened to it when I had still been a normal guy and when I had eventually become a part of the band I had of course played some songs live but it wasn’t the same now because as I was sitting in this room I was just a normal guy again.
The minutes passed, the songs were played and I started to get sleepy again but then Northern Downpour started and I was wide awake again. This song had always had a special meaning for me because I remembered the times where Brendon and I would look at each other on stage and where I would come over to him and we would sing through one microphone – and these moments had the value of gold for me.
Instead of being tired I was sad now and because it was late and because I was thinking of Brendon and because I didn’t know what to do I couldn’t help myself but start to cry. All the tears I had held back in the last weeks – months – years were now pouring down my face like a northern downpour. It was kind of true – this stupid song was the main reason that I was crying now.
I couldn’t stop now because as I had started once and it was just impossible at this point to hold back the tears – the memories. I cried and animalic sounds left my mouth. Eventually I collapsed and fell into a restless sleep.

Chapter Text

“What the fuck, Ryan?” Brent’s voice was audible when I woke up. I was still laying on the floor and I already felt how my whole body hurt because I had slept in such an awful position. The record was still on the player and I saw that the envelope was laying on the floor.
Brent had come in and was now looking at me because I probably looked like I had attended a party the whole night. I quickly glanced at the clock and saw that it was already 10 am and therefore later than I would normally wake up. As my brother inspected me I slowly fell back on the floor because I didn’t want to face the reality. Why couldn’t I stay asleep forever?
“Ryan, why the fuck are you laying on the floor?” Brent asked again and I knew that I had to say something eventually. “It’s nothing really. I woke up last night because I needed something to drink and I probably must’ve fallen asleep when I got back from the kitchen because I was really tired.” I explained. Brent looked at me skeptically and then at the record but didn’t say anything anymore.
I followed my brother out of my favorite room and as we entered the kitchen I realized that my girlfriend was already awake which was pretty unusual and probably the last thing I needed now. Hey Keltie. You know what? I cried because of another guy yesterday because I’m in love with him. Did I forget to mention that? Yeah, I’m in love with another guy but let’s stay together anyways? OK, great.
“Good morning, Ryan.” My girlfriend greeted me coldly. Of course she was rundown now because I had slept in another room yesterday. “Hey Keltie. Sorry about yesterday but I just really needed to be alone. It wasn’t because of you, OK?” I tried to apologize. Keltie inspected me and even though I felt that she didn’t really believe me she eventually said “OK.”. Apparently there was at least one thing that was good now.
I quickly kissed my girlfriend on the mouth but she didn’t want it to be a quick kiss. Instead she started to kiss me more passionately and her tongue slipped into my mouth. At this point I had already forgotten how he had tasted like. I could just taste her on my tongue and even though I sometimes made out with random guys it would always be her.
Keltie’s hand drove under my shirt and I knew that this was too much now. I gently pushed my girlfriend away and saw how this cold expression spread on her face again. “Not in front of my brother.” I apologized but just then realized that Brent had long left the room. Keltie looked at me provokingly and I knew that I had no excuse anymore.
I almost had to laugh at how ridiculous this situation actually was. Normally the guy would be the one who would constantly want to fuck and the woman would sometimes need a break. But in our relationship it was the complete opposite. I felt like even if we had sex it wasn’t something that really satisfied me.
Keltie and I had gone through some rough times – mostly because of me to be honest – but in the end we had always stayed together because we had both wanted it. There had always been this will to fix our relationship – this special connection between us – and I felt like even though it had always been not that strong it was about to fade completely now.
“I have to go, I’m sorry.” I eventually said but we both knew that it was just an excuse to not have sex with her. The difference was that I didn’t care anymore. I had cared before – always enough to still save our relationship but now it didn’t matter anymore.
I quickly crossed the kitchen and eventually got out of the apartment I was living in with my maybe not anymore girlfriend and my half-brother. Preferably I never wanted to go back there but I knew that I had to eventually because in the end it was still my apartment. Another problem was that I couldn’t just kick out Keltie because I had been the one who had offered her to move in and it would take some time to find a new apartment in a big city.
And in the end I didn’t even know if we still together or not. Recently it didn’t really feel like we were but I actually didn’t know anything anymore. I realized that I was completely like Brendon. I didn’t know what I was supposed with my life – what I wanted. How could I blame the former lead singer for what he had said if I wasn’t any better?
The city was overcrowded at this time and it was already way too hot for a morning. There were people who were still on their way too work or already on their way back because they had had a night shift. Then there were of course the tourists who were doing a sightseeing tour and lastly there were people who were walking around in groups and enjoying their free time together.
A group of teenage girls crossed my way. One of them had probably just said something funny because now everybody was laughing. They all seemed to be so careless and I realized that I had never had the privilege to be careless at this age. I had had a great childhood but when my parents had died I had never been careless again because I just couldn’t.
Maybe it was about time to be careless again because if I wasn’t now when could I be? I was so lost in my thoughts that I didn’t realize how Brendon Urie crossed my way. Just when he was standing right in front of me I saw that it was him. Brendon looked as miserable as I felt and I felt a strange satisfaction that the conversation we had had yesterday apparently had also left its marks on him.
“Hey Ryan. I just wanted to come to your apartment.” He started to explain. “I have parked my car around the corner because nowhere else has been a free parking space. That’s just sick.” Our eyes locked for just a slight second but that was already enough for me to feel even more miserable. How was it possible that I had lived two years without this guy in my life but now that I had seen him again yesterday I felt like I needed him more than air.
“What do you want, Brendon?” I sounded to sound rough but probably just sounded desperate – because I was. Everything about this situation was just driving me to despair. I searched my bags and eventually found what I had looked for. A lighter and a pack of cigarettes were in my hands just a few seconds later and almost dying I put the cigarette between my lips, lighted it and started to smoke like a mad man.
Over the course of time I had found out that smoking also was a great way to cope with feelings and even though it obviously wasn’t as good as taking coke it would be enough for this moment. Brendon looked at me strangely. “Do you also want one?” I offered my former band mate. Eventually he nodded and I gave him a cigarette too.
It was weird when I lighted it for him because our faces were so close. I was pretty sure that every other person would’ve just thought that we were two guys who would smoke together but Brendon and I both knew that this wasn’t all. Eventually we started to walk next to each other for a few moments while we both were lost in our own thoughts.
“I wanted to apologize because of yesterday.” Brendon eventually started as he exhaled the smoke in such a beautiful way that I started to wonder what about him actually wasn’t beautiful. “What I said yesterday isn’t fair – for neither you nor Sarah. It’s my own fucking problem that I don’t know what I want but I have to figure it out because… fuck, Ryan, I’m going to be a dad. Can you believe that? I definitely can’t because I never wanted to have children!”
Brendon sounded so deeply honest and that shocked me much more than what he had said yesterday. Apparently we were both lost souls who wouldn’t fit in this universe. “No, me neither.” I whispered as I blew out the smoke I had inhaled before. There was just something about smoking that made me really calm but it probably wouldn’t work that well right now.
Brendon and I walked down the streets of Las Vegas and I remembered old times where we had done that too. But back then everything had been different. We had been different and I realized that I probably didn’t like what we had both become.
“Have you heard anything about Spencer recently?” I eventually asked because the silence was unbearable. Why did Brendon always want to speak with me when he couldn’t even talk properly? “Yeah. Even considering the band’s history now we still talk to each other unlike you guys.” Brendon replied but immediately realized that he shouldn’t have said that. “That was rude. I’m sorry. It’s just… I think it’s really sad that you guys don’t talk to each other anymore. I mean you have known each other since you were little and now you don’t talk with each other? Everybody could see how much you meant to each other when you had hugged at my party. Can’t you just talk to each other, for real?”
The words flooded out of Brendon’s mouth but I knew that he was right. I still loved Spencer like the brother I always thought I didn’t have and if I was honest with myself I realized that I really wanted to be friends with him again. “I’m going to try to talk to him.” I shortly answered which made Brendon smile.
“And because you have asked, Spencer and Linda are doing just fine. As you may know they’re both living here again so you could visit Spencer sometime because you guys really have to clarify things.” Brendon continued but eventually stopped. “So do we, Ryan. For real.”
“What is there to clarify between us?” I asked innocently but Brendon looked at me seriously. He led me to a passage between two houses. Even though it was awfully hot in the city it was bearable here because the houses provided shade and it immediately seemed to be darker even though it was still morning.
Brendon and I looked at each other and for the first time in a really long time I was able to see the same desire – the same hunger – in his eyes that I had felt for a really long time. Maybe that was the moment where I was supposed to be careless for once. I just wanted to do what I wanted for once and I wanted to forget about everything else.
My face came near Brendon’s slowly but then I eventually bypassed the last few inches. When our lips finally met after almost two years it felt like the most normal thing in the world. I tasted Brendon and immediately wondered how I could’ve forgotten his taste. I was pretty sure that I would never forget about it now that I had tasted it again.
I embraced the younger man tightly and ignored the fact that it was hot and I was already sweating because this was worth it. Our tongues fought a silent battle as my hands eventually started to move down his body. Brendon’s body was incredibly perfect – actually everything about him was perfect just not the fact that he had a girlfriend.
As I unzipped his trousers he didn’t protest and I knew that we both wanted this in that moment. We were in a dark alleyway and nobody would see us. And if I was being honest I didn’t care if anybody saw us at this point. Maybe that was the carelessness I had thought about earlier. My hand explored his body and I eventually entered his boxer shorts.
I could already feel Brendon’s hard cock and when I finally touched it he moaned quietly. This wasn’t the first time now that I was doing this because in the last two years I had hooked up with some guys even though I had a girlfriend. Of course Keltie didn’t know about that but these fucks didn’t mean anything anyways.
Slowly I started to get on my knees and started to place kisses on Brendon’s body as I made my way down there. I had slowly pushed his pants down so I was able to take his cock into my mouth.
I had also blown some guys before – this wasn’t anything new – but I had never had Brendon’s cock in my mouth before. I roughly touched his ass and started to fuck him with my mouth. Even though it should have been the situation wasn’t weird at all. We were standing in the alleyway as if it was the most normal thing in the world. I felt like it was probably even more exciting because there was the danger that somebody could see us and that caused much adrenaline.
My tongue handled his cock and I tasted him again. I could feel how Brendon started to move himself but I quickly pushed him back against the wall. For one second our eyes locked and I continued to blow him as we looked into each other’s eyes. We both knew what we were doing here and that it was probably the worst thing we could do in this moment but neither of us stopped it.
I fucked him with my mouth as if my life would depend on this and when Brendon started to moan heavier I knew that he was about to reach his climax soon. The few seconds just before this moment were always something special because another person trusted you enough to see you like that – when you had no control.
Eventually Brendon’s motions became uncontrolled and just one second later I felt his sperm in my mouth. He moaned one more time but slowly started to calm down. I swallowed everything like a pro. I remembered the first time where I had blown another guy and where I had spit out everything but now swallowing the sperm wasn’t a problem for me anymore.
“Holy fuck, Ryan. Where did you learn to do that so well?” Brendon exhaled and I could see that some beads of sweat were running down his face. I smiled because I was the one who had caused this state. “I guess I had some practice.” I eventually answered but didn’t say more even though his look was confused and interested.
Everything was great but then I saw how Brendon’s facial expression changed slowly. Apparently he really understood what we had done now. “I have to go.” The former lead singer almost screamed and I knew that this had been a mistake. Not just because we were two guys and we were living in the 60s and we had both girlfriends – no, it was an even bigger mistake now because Brendon would regret it and that was what broke me.
The former lead singer ran away and left me alone in the dark alleyway that didn’t seem to be so secretive anymore. Now it was just an ugly messy alleyway and I wanted to leave it too. Brendon was long gone when I came back to the busy street again. Somehow he had melted with the crowd and I knew that it would be impossible now to follow him and if I was honest I didn’t really want to anyways.
It was a normal weekday for everyone else but not for me. Because I wasn’t working or doing anything else at the moment I quickly lost track of time and often I forgot that people’s lives usually continued normally while I had no plan anymore.
Instinctively I knew where I had to go. I thought about the conversation Brendon and I had had before that had happened and realized that it was about damn time to talk to Spencer. We had been living in the same city now for all these years – just a few kilometers apart from each other – and we had never seen each other. Wasn’t it kind of ironic that we had just seen each other in Los Angeles and never here?
I knew where my former best friend lived now because I had passed the house several times while a small part of me had always hoped that maybe one day Spencer or Linda or anyone would come out. But today I would actuate the bell and I would enter the bell – that was for sure.
The house was just a few blocks away from my current location and when I finally reached it several memories came up in my mind. I remembered the first time Spencer and I had met. Back then I had been six years old and the other boy five. I had played golf in his parents’ front yard but didn’t know that back then. After some time my best friend appeared next to me and we had continued to play together. Even though we had both been so young back then we had both immediately known that this would be a friendship for our whole life. We had vowed to always stay friends but now we weren’t anymore and that broke my heart somehow.
I didn’t exactly know anymore when we had stopped being friends but it had probably started when I had left the band and Spencer had still been in it for a few months longer. We had barely seen each other and even if we had it had felt weird and then we hadn’t seen each other anymore. We didn’t even have a big fight or anything – we had just stopped being friends.
Sometimes I felt like leaving the Social Busters had been the worst decision I had made in my whole life. First of all I had destroyed every hope Brendon and I had had back then and second of all I had eventually lost my best friend because of it. I didn’t know now what would’ve been better – leaving the band or not. This was a question I would never get an answer to.
I hated that people actually knew nothing. One could study the world but in the end nobody knew anything really. Was there a god or life on another planet? What happened after one died? And what would’ve happened if one would’ve done something else? These were all questions nobody would ever have an answer for and it killed me. There were things you could find out eventually but not knowing anything drove me crazy sometimes.
I stood in front of Spencer’s and Linda’s house eventually but still needed a few seconds to collect myself. After some moments I actuated the bell and a few seconds later Linda was standing in front of me. She looked a little bit older but still gorgeous. But then, who didn’t look older when two years had passed by? Her face showed me that she was barely surprised. In the contrary I felt like she would’ve expected me to appear here sometime.
“Hey Ryan. Spencer’s upstairs.” She told me as if she was Spencer’s mother and would sent me up to his room. I thought about a time where this had still been the case and where life had been so much easier. I hated kids but I also envied them because of their carelessness. Their parents thought about everything and a child never had to worry about anything. Well, until the teenage age was reached.
Silently I made my way upstairs and felt like I would burglarize here because everything was so alien for me. “Babe, who was…” Spencer came out of one room and started talking but immediately stopped when he saw that I wasn’t Linda. It was weird to stand there – two former friends who had never felt so alienated.
“Linda was right.” The drummer started. “She said that you would come here sometime and now you really did. Wow, I can’t believe it.” I inspected my former best friend and even though we had seen each other yesterday it was something completely different to be in his house today. “Hey Spencer.” I eventually greeted him because I noticed that we hadn’t done this properly.
He nodded. “Follow me.” Spencer said and I did. The room he had come out before apparently was similar to my favorite room in my own apartment. There was a big drum set in the middle but also other instruments and many records next to a record player. Maybe every artist had a room like that to escape the reality somehow.
I looked at the records more precisely and noticed that my former best friend also still owned the three albums of the Social Busters. “I have them too.” I whispered eventually. Like me Spencer had also been a fan of the band before – even though not as extreme as I had been – so of course he still owned all the albums. I wondered if he still listened to their – our songs – sometimes and what he felt if he did.
“Of course.” He replied and there was a silence between us again. “What do you want here?” Spencer eventually added but he didn’t sound mean – just curious. I decided to be honest with him. “You know that my life had never been easy – I mean yours hadn’t been too – but I have realized one thing lately: It’s easier when I’m with you.” I started but Spencer interrupted me. “Is this going to be a declaration of your love for me or what?” he said jokingly and I blushed. “NO. I just meant that it’s easier when we’re like friends.” I quickly clarified things.
I wondered if Spencer would’ve had a problem if he knew that I was in love with Brendon. Would he be disgusted? “Honestly, you as a friend make my life better and I’m constantly wondering how I could’ve been such an idiot to abandon you.” I admitted and wondered if my honesty would be somehow effective. Spencer looked at me as sad as I felt in this moment.
“You’re definitely not the only idiot, Ryan. We’ve both been idiots honestly and I guess I’ve just been too stubborn or maybe too anxious to meet you again.” The drummer admitted too and I felt like maybe things could be OK between us again. Maybe there could at least be one thing that I could fix again.
“You know what? I have a really similar to this one in my apartment. Maybe you can come by some time and inspect it?” I asked and hoped that he would say yes. “I’d love that.” Spencer said smiling and I started to smile too. This felt like a dream because it was just too good to be true. I really hoped that it wasn’t though because I wanted this to be true so badly.
“Do you want some cake?” Linda screamed upstairs and I felt like a little boy again. “Mom’s calling us.” Spencer said laughing and I knew that we were both thinking the same. We got downstairs like little boys excited to eat the cake.
Linda awaited us in the kitchen wearing a big smile on her face. “Everything OK?” She asked expectantly and Spencer and I both nodded. “Finally. So are you guys talking again?” She added and we both nodded again. We definitely had to talk more to be friends again but this definitely was a beginning and I loved it. Why hadn’t I come here earlier? Why had I been so stubborn and anxious as Spencer had said? This was again a question I would never get an answer to – a mystery of the universe.
“Who wants some cherry cake now?” Spencer’s wife asked excited and we both nodded probably as excited as Linda. “I’ve just fetched it out of the oven so be careful because it’s still hot.” She added as Spencer took the cake spatula and put some cake on three plates. It smelled incredible and I realized how hungry I actually was. I hadn’t eaten anything today because too many things had happened but I didn’t want to think about them now. Right now I just wanted to enjoy this moment.
Eventually we started eating and I almost moaned because the cake was so amazing. I couldn’t remember when I had eaten a fresh-baked self-made cake the last time. Keltie couldn’t bake and me neither and if we would eat cake it would always be at a restaurant or somewhere but this was something completely else.
“Honestly, Linda, if you weren’t already married I would marry you right now so you can make me a cake every day.” I said jokingly as I had finished about half of the piece. Spencer looked at me indignantly. “Don’t you dare.” He said also jokingly and Linda laughed.
“I’m sorry, Ryan. But I’m pretty sure that you’ll find a woman who can bake too.” She claimed eventually. I wasn’t so sure about that.

Chapter Text

“Isn’t it amazing that we’re all living in the same city again?” Mikey said as we entered a random bar. Over the course of the last weeks Mikey, Spencer and I had started to do things together again and I felt like at least one part that had been missing in my life was now back. Wasn’t it incredible that sometimes people wouldn’t talk to each other for years but if they did again it felt so normal?
The three of us sat down at the bar and we all ordered a beer. I knew what would happen if we would order something stronger and it wouldn’t be good for either of us. “To us because we found us again and to many great years to follow!” I said as we clinked our bottles. “And of course to Linda and Kristin and Mikey’s unborn child.” I added smiling. Mikey and his wife found out that she was pregnant a few days ago and I was pretty sure that they would become the best parents. I wasn’t so sure that Brendon would be the latter but I didn’t want to think about him now.
I started to drink my beer and tried not to inhale the liquid like it was air. I wouldn’t get this messed up person again that I had been for so long. “So, do you and Kristin want to move to a house when the child comes?” I eventually asked one of my best friends and realized how lucky I was to call two people my best friend again. Some people never found a person they would identify as their best friend and I had two of them – two people I would die for.
“We will stay in our apartment first. I mean there is enough space anyways so I don’t see why we should move, you know?” Mikey answered and I nodded. I felt the urge to gulp my beer and directly order the next somehow but I tried to control myself. We all had bad experiences with alcohol but if I had to be honest I probably had the worst history.
My father had been an alcoholic. I had known that when I had been a child even though it had been something both he and my mother had never talked about. I guess children were very observant about things and I had always noticed that sometimes my father acted differently. As I got older I had realized that he drank too much.
I didn’t have the worst childhood – actually it was pretty great – because at some point I considered my father being an alcoholic normal and I had accepted it. Sometimes I wondered if the accident had really been just an accident or if maybe it had been my father’s fault but then I always realized that I shouldn’t think something like that.
The urge to drink something – to become an alcoholic – was probably in my veins and if I was honest I didn’t want to fight it. “What about you and Linda? You have been together for such a long time so are there any kids in process of planning?” Mikey laughed at my other best friend who looked at both of us almost terrified.
“I don’t think so. At least not at this point.” Spencer replied with a pale face. I wondered why he was suddenly so frightened because of the thought of getting children but I didn’t dare to ask at this point. “Let’s have another round of beer.” I quickly changed the topic because my bottle was long empty. Just then I realized that my friends’ bottles weren’t but nobody said something.
I forced myself to just drink beer because that wouldn’t get me drunk and the latter was a state I shouldn’t be in. “Let’s go take a walk.” Spencer suggested as I had emptied another bottle because he probably felt that I was about to grab the vodka. We all agreed on that and walked around through the city.
It was already October and I realized how fast the time flew by. Sometimes I felt like I was stuck in one moment and sometimes the week felt like it would never end but all in all the time really flew by. I felt like it had been yesterday that I still had had four jobs and had met Brendon in this stupid bar I had worked in back then but actually it was already more than three fucking years ago.
I realized that everybody I had known back than was married at this point or even had a child. The love of my life would also get a child soon. Sara’s due date was in less than four months and I felt sicker every day. The press had found out about her pregnancy a few days ago and of course it was a big thing because Sarah was the girlfriend of the former lead singer of one of the most famous bands ever and everybody wanted to know something about Brendon Urie.
It was everywhere – in every newspaper, overall in the tv and the radio and I didn’t dare to watch or listen to anything anymore. It was pretty unusual for a couple in the 60s to not be married before they get their first child so I felt like everyone was waiting for Brendon to propose to his girlfriend.
“Have you talked to Brendon now? I mean what about the two of you? It can’t be over, can’t it be?” Mikey started after we’ve walked in silence for several minutes. I didn’t know if it was the alcohol even though it had just been beer but Mikey just said something he shouldn’t have said. Spencer didn’t know about the thing Brendon and I had had years ago and I didn’t plan on telling him.
Of course this statement could actually mean that our friendship couldn’t be over but I felt like everybody knew now that it wasn’t just a friendship. I glanced at Spencer who returned my look and I saw how the cogs moved in his head until he eventually understood probably everything.
“To clear things up here. Are you telling me that Ryan and Brendon had a thing with each other or am I completely wrong?” My confused best friend asked and I decided that it didn’t matter anymore and I could also tell him the truth. “We had had sex once and kissed each other several times but it wasn’t just a casual affair for me. I fell in love with Brendon and… I still am in love with him.” I admitted and I still couldn’t believe that I was saying that.
When I had told Mikey it had been such a relief and I already felt that it was now too. “I guess I have to give my wife 20 bucks now.” Spencer replied smiling. “We made a bet because she has claimed that you and Brendon totally were a thing but I couldn’t believe it. I guess she was right.” My best friend started laughing and Mikey and I did too after some moments. I was glad that Spencer reacted so well because I knew that so many other people wouldn’t.
I never understood and I never would why people would discriminate other people because of their sexual orientation. In my opinion it absolutely didn’t matter and over the course of time I had realized that it wasn’t something one was able to choose. It was just who you were.
“But honestly, Ryan.” Spencer started after the three of us had stopped laughing. “You have to do something about that. I mean you can’t just let Brendon go! It was pretty obvious that there was something between the two of you and I can’t imagine that Brendon didn’t think so too.” My best friend said seriously now and Mikey nodded too.
“I want to do something. Oh, believe me, I do, but what can I do? I don’t have many options. Brendon has a girlfriend and they will have a child together plus Brendon is a famous person and everyone knows what’s happening in his life plus I have a girlfriend myself plus we live in the fucking 60s and everybody hates fags so I just can’t do anything!” I couldn’t stop talking anymore once I had started but I meant everything I said. I wouldn’t give up so easily if the situation would’ve been different but as it was now there was nothing I could do really.
“Don’t forget to breathe, George Ryan Ross III.” Mikey said calmly and I tried to now that he had said my full name. This always brought me back to the reality. The name that was given me was part of myself – it was part of my family and I was the last one of the latter. The name was also a constant reminder that I slowly turned into my father even though that had been something I had never wanted to become.
“You’ll figure something out. We will, OK? We always do.” Spencer said eventually and I wondered when we had ever figured something out. We had both always been pros at concealing the unpretty things and not talking about anything really important and neither of us had ever figured something out really.
Even though I knew that it wasn’t true I nodded and thanked my best friend for the positive thoughts. I didn’t even know what my life was at this point. I didn’t know who I was and it was slowly killing me. People always said that at some point in your teenage years you would find yourself and you would slowly figure out who you were but I had never figured it out until now and was way too old.
“I gotta go now. I promised Linda not to be home too late.” Spencer started after neither of us had said a word for a few moments. “Ryan, please don’t let this all drag you down. I know it’s hard – or what am I even saying? I can’t imagine how hard it is – but try not to consume all these negative thoughts. Some day things will get better. I promise you!” My best friend hugged me real quick and turned away from me until he vanished in the dark.
Mikey – my other best friend – looked at me apologetically. “I guess I have to go too.” He started and I realized that this was how it was going to be now. They all had their wives and soon probably children and I would be left alone. Mikey attempted to go but eventually turned around once more looking at me seriously.
“I know that I have been an arsehole for a long time but you know that this hasn’t just been me – it has also been because of the drugs. Now I don’t want to blame them for my whole behavior but I just wanted to say sorry once more because I know that I wasn’t there for you when you needed me back then. I know too that things haven’t been great between you and Spencer so you probably haven’t had anyone to talk to years ago. And I want to apologize again because I have been such an awful friend. You know that I 100% think different nowadays.” We locked each other’s eyes for a second and I was surprised that the three of us were now able to almost talk freely but still it didn’t change how I felt. People always said that if you talked to someone you would feel better and I somehow did but then it still didn’t change anything.
“It is what you said: Years ago. We have all made mistakes but we shouldn’t think about that anymore, Mikey. I have forgiven you long ago and I can’t even express how happy I am that the three of us are friends again – real friends who can tell each other things. That was something I have missed for a really long time.” I responded and Mikey nodded. We smiled at each other - a real, genuine smile which I hadn’t experienced in a while and eventually our ways parted.
I made my way back to the apartment in which I was living with my brother and a woman I didn’t know how to call at this point. A few months ago – after the thing had happened with Brendon – Keltie and I had decided that it was probably for the best if she moved out again. It hadn’t been a real break up but we hadn’t kissed each other since then and I was pretty sure that we both knew that it was over somehow.
Of course Keltie didn’t know that I was in love with the former lead singer and I could just hope that she would never find out accidently. I wandered through the streets of Las Vegas that where always full of people no matter which time it was. Through the years I had lived in many different corners of this city and I felt like every area was a small city itself. Somehow I started to miss living in New York because it had been such a short time there – or maybe I just wanted to increase the distance between me and a certain man who was living in Los Angeles.
I reached the apartment way too fast in my opinion but I knew that Keltie wouldn’t live here soon. I just had to survive a little bit more. The woman was still awake sitting on the sofa as if she had been waiting for me – well, maybe she had.
There was some stupid show running on the TV but it was pretty obvious that Keltie wasn’t paying attention. “I can move in in two weeks.” She started alluding to the apartment she had found a few weeks ago but she didn’t know until now when she could move out. “Two more weeks and then you’ll never have to see me again.” She sat there stiffly and I wondered when she had become so uptight. I nodded because I wasn’t in the mood to talk. Just when I wanted to enter my room she continued to talk.
“I never wanted for all of this to happen, you know? I thought that maybe I would be the woman you’d marry one day but now I know how stupid I have been.” Keltie said and I pitied her a little bit. I had never felt like I could marry her because our relationship had always been rather a casual thing for me. “But maybe you won’t marry a woman at all.” She continued and I wondered why she would say something like that. “Tell me that it’s not just me.” She demanded.
For one slight second our eyes met each other and I was pretty sure that she was able to see the truth in mine because I saw it in hers but I didn’t dare to say anything further. “I’m sorry.” Was the only thing coming out of my mouth. “I’m just so fucking sorry.” And with these words I entered my room and she didn’t follow me. Of course she didn’t but for once I was kind of sad about it.
* * *
I woke up because I heard someone screaming. It was a deafening noise and I immediately got up because I was afraid that something serious had happened. A quick glance at the clock showed me that it was 8:30 in the morning so I had at least slept like six and a half hours which was pretty reasonable for my standards.
I opened the door of my bedroom and ran to the living room because I suspected that the noise originated either there or in the kitchen. The picture that presented itself there was even more daunting than I could’ve expected. Keltie was laying on the floor and I needed a few seconds to realize that the red color all over her was blood. Her hands covered her stomach and she desperately tried to stay awake.
I was so focused on my former girlfriend that I didn’t notice that another woman was standing just next to her and she was holding the reason why Keltie was bleeding in her hand – a knife. But instead of running away she started to cry and I was completely unable to cope with the situation. My rational side somehow managed to run to the telephone and dial 911. While I did that I kept my eyes glued on both women.
Everything felt like it was a bad dream but I knew that this was the reality and that I was the only person here to act properly. The woman at the other end of the line promised me to send an ambulance vehicle as soon as possible and I put the telephone receiver back on its place.
I decided that it was more important to practice first aid on my former girlfriend than dealing with the alien woman who had apparently tried to kill her. The latter seemed to be trapped in her own world anyways. “Everything will be OK, Keltie. Everything will be OK.” I whispered even though we both knew that this might not be true.
I removed my shirt and squeezed it on the wound even though I knew that this was low-key effective. Keltie started to cry and I couldn’t help myself but get wet eyes too. I was probably the worst paramedic ever but just the thought that she might die almost killed me too. Maybe Keltie and I didn’t get along with each other so well but I would never want her to die because she still was important to me.
Keltie tried to say something but I couldn’t understand it. “Don’t talk now, my love. Just try not to die until the paramedics will come. Please don’t die!” I started and the tears poured down my face. “You were right yesterday, OK? I can’t love you in the way we would both like me to love you. It’s just impossible.” I admitted and even though it was just half a confession I was pretty sure that I would regret it later.
I wanted to say something else – anything – but instead I started singing.
Hey where did we go
Days when the rains came
Down in the hollow
Playin' a new game
Laughing and a running hey, hey
Skipping and a jumping
In the misty morning fog with
Our hearts a thumpin' and you
My brown eyed girl
You're my brown eyed girl
Eventually the paramedics flooded the room and I stopped singing. They put Keltie on a stretcher and immediately brought her downstairs so I was left alone with that crazy woman and two police officers. One of them stood next to me. “Do you know this woman? Do you know why she would do something like that?” He asked as we were both looking at the murderer. I felt like she probably had a mental disorder because she was crying and it seemed like she didn’t want to do what she had done.
“Who are you? Why the hell did you do that?” I asked her directly while my sadness slowly changed into anger and the tears on my face dried. She looked at me but it seemed as if she was looking through me and not really realizing that somebody was standing in front of her.
“Where’s Brent?” she eventually asked quietly and I paused for a moment. How did she know my half-brother and where the hell was he actually? Everybody would be awake after that screaming – probably also all the neighbors. I guessed that Brent probably wasn’t here but where did this woman come from and how did she know him?
I realized that she was so deranged that I wouldn’t get her to tell me anything helpful. I waved my hand in front of my face to show the officers that this woman was crazy and left the apartment after that because I needed to leave this place.
Just when I had reached the hallway Brent crossed my way with a bag of probably pastries in his one hand and a blank expression on his face. “Where the fuck have you been?” I screamed in the same moment as my half-brother screamed “What the hell happened here? Why are you covered in blood?”
I decided to answer him first. “This isn’t my blood. It’s Keltie’s and I just wanted to jump into the car to drive to the hospital. There was – or still is – some mad woman in our apartment who attacked her with a knife and I have no idea how she could enter the place. But she asked about you. How the hell does she know you?”
Brent’s face turned even paler if that was still possible and suddenly he dropped the bag with pastries. “You’re not talking about Leana. Holy hell, I just left the apartment for like twenty minutes to bring us some breakfast. I just met her yesterday and you know one thing led to another but I could’ve never imagined… oh my goodness, Ryan, I’m so fucking sorry. What did I do? I killed your girlfriend or whatever…”
I started to realize what Brent just told me. This mad woman had been in my apartment the whole night and now Keltie would maybe die because of her. “It’s not your fault, OK? It’s the fault of this mad woman because I can tell you she’s really mad. She has some mental disorder, how didn’t you notice that?”
I was done blaming everybody because of everything. We all did mistakes and how was Brent to know who this woman was. I had had several casual hookups myself over the years and you never knew who the other person was if you had just met them. “Let’s not think about her now, OK? Let’s just drive to the hospital and hope that my girlfriend is going to survive this hell of a ride.” I somehow managed to say and couldn’t believe that I would need to say these words one day.
My half-brother nodded and we quickly got upstairs. Just when I sat down at the driver’s side and was about to start the vehicle I realized that I had just called Keltie my girlfriend even though she wasn’t anymore. But neither Brent nor I said a word about that. It didn’t matter.

Chapter Text

I entered the clean white room that looked like any other hospital room. Even though I hated hospitals with my whole heart I had to set my foot on them way too often. Because I officially still was Keltie’s boyfriend they had allowed me to go in here first but now I doubted that this was a good idea.
She was awake and I wondered how she had survived this at all. We looked at each other for a few seconds but the situation was very awkward and neither of us really knew what to say. “Hey Ryan.” She eventually started and I realized that her voice sounded a little bit croaking but it didn’t surprise me. I nodded and awkwardly sat down on her bed.
“How are you?” I started with the most casual question ever. If I only knew what else to say. She nodded. “I’m okay. I mean obviously not great but it could’ve been worse.” My former girlfriend responded and I realized that we definitely could’ve been husband and wife in another life. In another life – people always said that but sometimes it was true. Sometimes two people just couldn’t be together in one life so maybe it would’ve been possible if things would’ve been different. Who knew that?
“I’m so glad that you’re alive, Keltie.” I tried to start a conversation but realized that I was awful doing so. The woman’s eyes locked mine again and I felt like she was not only looking at me but looking through me – seeing every dirty secret I kept.
“Are you really, Ryan?” Keltie replied now looking out of the window. I didn’t understand what she meant. “Of course I am. We may have our problems but I’d never want for you to die no matter what would happen between us. Don’t you know that? Maybe I can’t love you in a way we both want it but I’ll always care for you.” As I finished explaining I saw that tears were rolling down her cheeks.
“Please Ryan. Tell me once and for all what we both know. I want to hear the exact words from you and then I’m maybe going to believe that you really care for me.” Keltie asked and her voice broke. I knew that I had to say it – I had to – but it was probably the hardest thing I’d do in my whole life.
Telling my best friends was one thing. Even leaving Brendon – leaving the band – had been easier even though it had been the thing in my life I would maybe regret the most. But telling my former girlfriend who loved me and not being able to return that love was like hell.
I stood up again but everything felt wrong so I sat down again trying to find the words. “I’m in love with Brendon Urie.” Were the words that quietly came out of my mouth – were the words that would change everything now once and for all. Keltie didn’t look surprised but I knew that she had known before. Somehow she had. Maybe woman were able to find out such things or maybe it was just her but I felt like few secrets could be kept from Keltie.
There were three things that couldn’t be hidden for a long time: The sun, the moon and the truth. I felt like this was how it was but sometimes it was probably still better to keep things – it was just worse when they came out. “Thank you for your honesty.” The only woman I would ever feel a thing maybe close to love for replied after a few moments of silence.
It was a weird situation for both of us and I realized how stupid I had been because Keltie almost died a few hours before and now I had told her my deepest secret. “It’s okay, Ryan.” She continued as if she was able to read my mind. A slight smile appeared on her face but I knew that it was a fake one. “I wanted you to tell me this and it’s OK. We can’t decide whom we fall in love with so it’s not your fault.”
I felt even worse because I didn’t love this woman. We had had our differences and sometimes she had annoyed me extremely but in the end Keltie was such a great person and I wasn’t. “I don’t deserve you anyways.” I eventually said just realizing that now after we had been together for so long. She shook her head. “That’s not true. We are just not meant to be but you’re still an amazing person.” My former girlfriend replied and I couldn’t believe how precious this woman was.
We looked at each other one last time and eventually I left the room feeling like a complete idiot. Brent, Spencer and Linda, Mikey and Kristin, even Pete and Ashlee with Bronx who was already one and a half years old were here but the person I was most surprised about to see was Gerard fucking Way.
My best friend’s brother didn’t look good at all. I hadn’t seen him in a while and quickly exchanged a look with Mikey who looked as shocked as I was. Apparently the former lead singer of Rage Against The Death had barricaded himself but it was obvious that this had probably been the worst thing for him to do. “Hey Gerard.” I started as we stood next to each other. I tried not to muster him obviously but I failed. His hair – now long – was greasy and his face was alarmingly pale. There were dark shadows under his eyes but the worst was the fact that he had lost way too much weight. I would’ve even dared to say that he was an anorexic.
The ugly clothes hung on his body and I wondered how nobody had realized how bad the former lead singer actually felt. “What are you doing here?” I added eventually trying to sound not as shocked as I felt. The older man sighed. “I have therapy here. I know what I look like. I have realized that now but I’ve already put on some weight and was allowed to leave the clinic last week but still I have to go to therapy every other day.” I wondered where he had already put on weight and what he must’ve looked like before but I didn’t dare to ask.
“What exactly happened?” I quietly asked and realized that everyone else was looking at us with a certain interest but nobody wanted to intervene. Gerard and I never had been best friends so I would’ve understood if he wouldn’t have answered but eventually he did answer.
“You still know about the thing I have told you when we have meet each other last time?” He started and I nodded because I remembered everything as if it had been yesterday. The last time we had met each other had been in the summer when Brendon had had his big party and announced that Sarah and he would get a child. How would I ever forget this day?
Gerard had told me that he was in love with Frank but that the latter was married and even had children so the two of us were in a similar situation at this point. I almost laughed thinking about a point five years ago where I had described my counterpart as weird and now everything was so extremely different. Often I didn’t even know anymore who this guy with four jobs was because it seemed to have happened in another life.
“Well, Frank is a bastard, really. I mean we have been broken up for years and then he has appeared in front of my apartment shortly after the party had happened and he has told me that he was still in love with me even though he now had a family. He didn’t do anything – he just told me but this has killed me. You know how it feels to be in love with somebody you can’t have. It’s one of the worst feelings ever.
Well you probably don’t know that I had always had a creative vein and I had always loved to draw but hadn’t done this in a while. Somehow Frank has triggered something inside me and I have started to draw almost everything manically. I remember this day where I have accidently forgotten to eat and at some point it has become a regularity and I just ate as much as one needed to barely survive. I know that this had been the worst thing ever but I’m now starting to feel better.”
I looked at my best friend’s older brother but it seemed as if another person would stand in front of me. I remembered the time when we had both been part of a band and where he had looked so happy. Then, at the party I had felt like Gerard had probably accepted the fact that Frank didn’t love him so I couldn’t imagine how he must’ve felt.
I knew that Brendon didn’t love me back and it was better this way. He would soon have his own family and forget about me so if anyone asked him “Have you heard of this guy called Ryan Ross?” He would answer “No.” I could just hope that I wouldn’t end up like Gerard. Life was hard and unfair but I didn’t want it to be over yet.
I realized that everyone was looking at us now so I decided to leave Gerard alone. I saw that Mikey reached for his brother with a shocked face. I couldn’t even imagine how hard his brother’s appearance must have been for him. The older man had just barricaded himself for months and neither of us knew what he had been up too exactly but surely nobody would’ve expected Gerard to look like this.
There had been this point in my life where I had thought that maybe everything would be good or at least things would be better but I felt like everything got even worse.
“How is she?” Brent eventually asked me ignoring Gerard and talking about Keltie. I escaped my thoughts and quickly answered him. I felt like my half-brother maybe cared a little bit too much about my former girlfriend but maybe that wasn’t too bad.
“Let’s grab a coffee.” I suggested because there was nothing we could do anyways. Brent looked at me with disbelief. “What? You mean right now? But...” “Yeah right now. We can’t help anyways and why not?” I could clearly see the struggle on his face because he wanted to visit Keltie but eventually he gave in and we searched the cafeteria that was located downstairs. It was a great hall and reminded me of a school cafeteria with its long rows of tables and stairs and a counter with self-serving.
I searched a coffee machine and eventually found it next to the desserts. “Do you want a cake too?” I asked my half-brother who nodded carelessly. I took two cups plus two brownies and we sat down at a random table. I realized how hungry I actually was and started eating. I knew that there were people who couldn’t eat in certain situation but I could always eat something no matter what had happened.
As I had finished my brownie I saw that Brent had barely touched his because he generally seemed to be trapped in his own world. “I’m in love with Brendon.” I said in the same second as Brendon said “I’m in love with Keltie.” We looked at each other seriously for a few moments but eventually started laughing because this situation was just too pathetic.
Was this even real? I had tried to deny it for so long and now so many people already knew and I didn’t care. Maybe I should’ve but I didn’t. For all I cared someone could tell the whole world that Ryan Ross was in love with Brendon Urie. I didn’t want to think about the problems this would cause.
“I’ve expected something like that to be honest.” My half-brother eventually started and I looked at him surprised. Apparently everybody had realized that something had been wrong with me. Maybe I wasn’t that good at hiding secrets after all. Instead of being funny the moment was weird now. Everything about this situation, about this year, about this life was weird. I legit had the weirdest life one was able to live.
“In the end we’re all just people. Nobody knows what this thing called life is. We can just hope that it’s worth it in the end.” I started to talk recalling. “My – our – father used to say that. I think that there are many things – books, music or just words – we can just understand when we get older and when life mints us. I remember that I would always get pretty confused because I didn’t fully understand what my father said back then but know I get it.”
Brent studied my face and I realized that this was probably the first honest conversation we’ve ever had. I had somehow always lied to him – about the drugs, about the tour and especially about Brendon. I had lied to everyone about Brendon and now that I was able to talk about him it was too late. It was way too late.
Why was it that people would always realize things when it was too late and when there was nothing one could do to change the situation? Sometimes I wondered if Brendon had ever been in love with me at some point of our casual affair. I also wondered when it had turned into more than an affair for me.
It was probably the night of the accident when we had kissed for the last time. I had walked away from him and I had realized that I had never felt worse before. People always said that when you had a broken heart you would feel the pain physically and just in this moment I had realized that it was true. It had felt as if someone had taken the splinters of my broken heart and then put it into the wound. Why I didn’t go back then was still a mystery for me to this day.
Why was it called falling in love anyways? One wasn’t falling – it was rather diving in love because it was a slow process. One didn’t realize it really until it was already too late. It were the little things that made me fall for Brendon – his smile that always brightened up an entire room, the little thing he did whit his nose when he thought that nobody was watching or even the way he jumped around like crazy when he was excited.
It was undeniable and I didn’t even try to repress it anymore: I was completely foolishly and deeply in love with Brendon Urie.
“You should do something. You can’t just sit around and watch him marry that woman.” Brent dragged me back into the reality. That was what everyone was saying but what was I supposed to do really? “Like what? Do you have any idea?” I responded but already knew the answer. My half-brother shook his head and awkwardly looked down. That’s what I had thought. Everybody always told me what to do but in the end they didn’t know themselves.
“But you can do something.” I replied after some time. “You mean, you wouldn’t have a problem with me and Keltie dating?” Brent asked shocked and I shrugged. “You can do what you want. Just one thing: Treat her well or I’ll hunt you down.” I didn’t even treat my former girlfriend well myself but that was a thing everyone always said to intimidate others and Brent nodded seriously.
Without a further word I stood up and left the cafeteria. There wasn’t anything I could do anyways and I definitely needed to leave this hospital. I remembered the times where I had been here myself because of the overdose of coke. There really wasn’t a place that I hated more than this hospital.
It was a hot day even for October. It was always hot in Las Vegas but it got worse every year. I felt like there was a climatic change going on in the whole world so that the temperature constantly got more extreme.
I took a cab and made my way back to the apartment. As the driver navigated the vehicle through the busy streets of the city I realized that I wouldn’t be able to stay in the apartment any longer. Too many things had happened there and every time I would have a look through the rooms there would arise too many memories I’d rather forget.
The car stopped in front of the building I’d have loved to leave already. It wouldn’t be hard to find a new apartment for me – I was alone, I had enough money and I was open for almost everything now. I made my way upstairs but eventually realized that I had forgotten my keys somewhere in the hospital. I could just hope that Brent had them now.
One of our neighbors – a man about my age approached and made his way to his apartment. I had seen him before sometimes but I didn’t know his name. Generally I had always tried to stay anonymous in this building because what would it help me if I met new people here? Apartment buildings like these were constructed for people that wouldn’t live here for a long time. They were just one halt on people’s journey. Neither of us wanted to stay here the whole life.
The man and I exchanged a glance and somehow I was able to see the same desire and desperateness in his eyes that I was feeling for months or even years. Through the years I had managed to read other people’s desires pretty well and I was able to see if another person wanted me and for sure, this guy did. The bigger part of me somehow decided to fuck it. It didn’t matter anymore because I wouldn’t stay here anyways. In a few months or as far as I was concerned already weeks I would have left this place so nothing I did here mattered anymore.
We didn’t talk, we didn’t exchange our names, I just followed him into his apartment because there was one mutual thing we both wanted. I realized that I hadn’t had sex since I had seen Brendon again a few months ago but even though I was in love with Brendon I was horny – I was just a man with desires. We quickly undressed ourselves but I didn’t feel a thing.
I didn’t feel excitement or joy or merriment as I used to feel when I was about to have sex with Brendon. The only thing I felt was horniness – and the latter didn’t come from my mind but from my body. It was just a physical need that had to be satisfied.
The guy whose name I didn’t even know got on his knees and I knew what would follow now. I had done this pretty often but every time a guy would suck my dick I would think about another guy.
Sometimes I had had sex with fans who idolized me and I wondered how they could. I was a broken mess and I was pretty sure that if they knew how I really was they would’ve run away.
I didn’t know if this guy was a fan of mine or if he even knew who I was but it didn’t matter anyways. This hookup wasn’t about getting to know each other. We both had our problems – that was obvious – but instead of talking fucking was our therapy – our way to cope with things.
I leaned against the wall of the kitchen which looked similar to mine and closed my eyes to imagine that they guy who was about to suck my dick was someone else. A few seconds later I was able to feel his tongue and eventually his mouth on my genitals and got even harder because in my mind it wasn’t this random guy.
His tongue started to draw lines on my cock and he sucked in the whole thing eventually. I was very close to climax way too fast but it was always like this when I imagined him to be someone else. It was easy like this – way too easy.
He managed my cock so well that I came just a few seconds later. “Uh yeah, Brendon.” I exhaled but when I opened my eyes I realized that the guy in front of me wasn’t the former lead singer but a stranger who was now looking at me confused. “My name’s Brian.” He answered and it was the first time I actually heard his voice. It sounded similar to the lead singer’s. Too similar.
I didn’t know if I was supposed to cry or to scream or maybe to laugh now because this situation was just a little bit too much. Too much anger, too much sadness, too much ridiculousness, too much frustration. I grabbed my pants and my shirt and dressed myself as fast as I could while the guy called Brian did the same. Suddenly everything about this situation seemed wrong. I had done similar things before but now it seemed wrong like I was cheating on Brendon which was completely ridiculous since I had really been cheating on my girlfriend before but now I wasn’t cheating on anyone.
Maybe it was this knowledge that I now theoretically was a free man. Before I had always had my girlfriend and even though we hadn’t had a real relationship especially in the last months anyways it was something else now.
I quickly grabbed my shoes eventually, opened the door and left the stranger’s apartment without a further word. This had been probably the worst idea of my entire life even though one could argue that I definitely had had worse before.
For a few seconds I just stood in the hallway next to mine and the stranger’s door because I didn’t know what to do. But then I got an idea and even though this was probably an even worse idea I knew that I would implement it anyways. I was the king of bad ideas and bad decisions and generally fucking up my own life. Maybe this was the only thing I was able to do properly.
I took a cab again as I approached the main road. The driver started to talk to me and asked me stuff but I didn’t answer so eventually he gave up and an unsettled silence spread in the vehicle. We reached the bus station eventually and I gave him the money I owed him carelessly. The next bus I needed would depart in about fifteen minutes which fitted perfectly. I had nothing on my body, just my purse which served me well.
The journey passed off while I was unsettled. I knew that what I was about to do was the biggest mistake in history and that I would regret it the moment I did it but the thing is I did it anyways. That was how I was. Doomed from the start. I took another cab eventually still knowing the address. How could I ever forget it? After another thirty minutes I reached my destination now starting to doubt what I was about to do.
But now I was here and now I would do it. I got out of the car and targeted the house. Last time I had come here I hadn’t seen the owner for two years. This time only about four months had passed but it felt like two years again. What was I even doing? I thought about all the people I had told secret telling me that I should do something and even though we all knew that there was nothing I could do maybe that was at least an attempt to change something – anything at all.
I decided to actuate the bell but just in this second the door opened and the person I loved more than anything in the world was standing in front of me. He looked different but also still like the man I had in mind when I thought about him which happened way too often.
“Hello Ryan.” Brendon said – his voice as broken as I felt. We quickly exchanged a look and just then I thought that I maybe somehow did the right thing after all.

Chapter Text

“Brendon.” I replied with a cranking voice. It felt unreal to be here or rather talk to him now but somehow it felt right. I wanted to say something else – anything to fill the silence – but almost out of nothing Sarah appeared in the door frame. I realized that her smile got a little bit smaller for just a slight second until she managed to keep her façade. That was the thing about woman – they always knew when something was wrong somehow.
“Do you want to come inside?” The girlfriend of the love of my life offered me and I nodded. As we approached the living room I saw that her pregnancy was now already visible on her belly. There was a slight bulge and it reminded me of how stupid this whole trip actually was.
We sat down in the room that looked so different now that there were no people in it. Everything was so calm and I realized that this house was probably the dream house of everyone who wanted to get children. We all were sitting there stiffly because neither of us really knew what to say.
I knew that there was still something between me and Brendon. He obviously wasn’t in love with me but after the party had happened he had proven me that there was something. I had never planned to see this guy again. Actually I had already accepted the fact that I would never see him again and that we wouldn’t have a future. But then the party had happen and since then I again couldn’t stop thinking about Brendon.
There was something unreal about the whole situation. If this wasn’t my life I would’ve said that this was just some stupid and really bad movie because things like that couldn’t actually happen. But my life had proven me that they could.
“May I offer something to drink?” Sarah eventually broke the silence. Brendon and I exchanged another glance and I answered “Vodka, please.” I didn’t even know what I was doing here. I was at his house and his girlfriend who would get his child was serving me. “Just bring the whole bottle, honey.” Brendon claimed and I was glad that he felt the same urge to drink alcohol now.
For months now the only thing that I had drunk had been beer and that barely satisfied me. I needed something real and now I would finally get it. Sarah looked at both of us – shocked, confused and angry – but eventually she stood up and went into the kitchen. The uncomfortable silence spread again so I decided to get up and inspect the room.
The record player caught my eye. It was the newest model and highly advanced. I inspected the record collection and saw that Brendon had all the good stuff. But I wouldn’t have expected anything else. “May I?” I asked and when the former lead singer nodded I grabbed Pet Sounds and “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” started to play. I almost had to laugh because this song text was so ridiculously unfitting. Nothing about this situation was nice.
Eventually Sarah came back with a bottle of vodka in one hand and two shot glasses in her other hand. I realized that she couldn’t drink something because of her pregnancy but maybe this was even better. “Thank you.” I said and she quickly nodded. I wondered what she probably thought – why I was here and why everything was so weird – but then maybe I didn’t really want to know.
Brendon poured us some drinks and I was so impatient that I immediately emptied it. I actually hadn’t planned to get drunk here but maybe it would be better if there was alcohol in my veins. I knew how unfair and rude this situation was towards Sarah now but I had long ago reached the point where I had stopped caring about most people’s feelings.
After some drinks I could already feel the alcohol in my blood. Because I hadn’t had high percentage alcohol in a long time I got drunk faster now and it was probably a similar situation for Brendon.
“I’ll be right back.” Sarah said after some time and her expression said everything else. Her mouth was a straight line and she was clearly disapproving what we did here. Brendon and I nodded but it seemed like even he didn’t care where she was going anymore. The two of us were left alone and I knew that this was the worst.
There was a silence between us again but this time it wasn’t uncomfortable due to the alcohol. “Do you remember this day where we had had a show in Las Vegas?” Brendon eventually started to talk. “Jon had told you that you had become better than me at concealing your emotions after we had given this stupid interview. You know that?” I nodded because I didn’t dare to talk. I didn’t dare to say anything that would maybe stop Brendon.
“Now I’m not so sure if he had been right.” The former lead singer added and I knew what he meant. I knew that he knew what I thought in that moment. I knew that we were both thinking about what else had happened that night – after the show had ended.
Neither of us was actually good at hiding our emotions from the other. It was rather the complete opposite. And because of that I could tell that the guy in front of me felt something for me too or at least he had before. There definitely had been something between us and that was the last proof I had needed.
“What am I to you?” I whispered so quietly that my voice almost fainted but I knew that he had understood me. The alcohol did everything easier. Why couldn’t people just constantly be drunk?
I waited for an answer but none was following. Maybe this was a question we both didn’t have an answer for. It was such an easy question but probably the most difficult now for both of us. I drank another shot and realized that I didn’t know anymore how many I had had. Too many probably.
“I have a girlfriend. I’m about to be a father. I live in a house in Los Angeles. My family loves Sarah. I…” Brendon started to state facts and I didn’t know what he wanted to say. He looked at me with an unidentifiable expression and for once I had absolutely no idea what would follow now.
“I love you.” He eventually whispered barely loud enough for me to hear. But I did hear it, of course I did. There was no doubt that I could’ve misunderstood the words. There was no chance that this was a dream. No, this was the reality and Brendon Urie had just told me that he loved me. I smiled but I didn’t respond anything. I was too drunk with alcohol and Brendon’s love that apparently existed after all.
I was drunk with a love that would never be implemented.
There were moments of silence because neither of us knew what to say. Of course I had always hoped for Brendon to feel the same as I did but I had never actually thought that he would. And now we were stuck in this misery.
A tiny part of me thought that maybe it was just Brendon’s drunk self talking and that he didn’t actually mean what he said but didn’t people say that one was most likely to tell the truth when one was drunk? It was because one didn’t really realize what one was saying anymore that some secrets slipped out and I was pretty sure that what Brendon had just said was one of them.
Now unusually confident I stood up and sat down next to the former lead singer. There were just a few inches between us but I felt that we both wanted to fill them. I knew that everything about this situation – really everything about this whole trip – was more than wrong but now that Brendon had told me that he loved me too and hopefully meant it I felt like nothing would stop me anymore.
Every time we were about to kiss – no matter if it was almost three years or just a few months ago – it wasn’t weird at all. No matter how weird or uncomfortable the situation before had been the approaching before we were about to kiss never was. It felt so right, so normal, so real.
Brendon’s eyes told me that he wanted this as much as I wanted it. There were no regrets, just love – or at least I hoped that the latter existed. I couldn’t even tell who started the kiss but one of us did and just a few seconds later our lips where melted together and I was pretty sure that if we would part them it would hurt.
The kiss was messy and wet and full of anger but it was perfect. I realized that I had always lied about everything mostly because the society told us that some things were wrong. Quitting school or college was wrong. Not listening to specific people was wrong. Running around naked was wrong. Not believing in God was wrong. Men wearing skirts or makeup was wrong. And men having sex with other men was wrong.
There were so many rules that I didn’t agree with. Society has created these stereotypes and if people didn’t fit in there were abnormal and had to change. But why couldn’t the society just change?
I didn’t understand how love was supposed to be wrong. Why did it matter if two man, two woman or a man and a woman loved each other as long as they were happy? There was one thing I knew for sure: This – kissing Brendon, being in love with him – was everything but wrong.
I could feel his hard cock through his pants and mine was hard too. It was always so easy for me to get horny when I just saw his face. No person had managed to do that before. But maybe that was what love was about? Next to the physical attraction there was also an emotional bond and the latter counted more in my opinion.
Everything was perfect. Everything was so perfect until I heard a scream. I couldn’t understand who was screaming or why but it was definitely a person who was standing just next to us. Brendon and I quickly ended our kiss and I came back to the reality – to this toxic world which I hated so much.
I saw the horrific expression of the former lead singer’s face and as I turned around I knew why he was so shocked.
Sarah was standing in the door frame, tears of anger floating down her face. I knew that she had seen everything. But I also knew that Brendon would run after her now and tell her that it wasn’t what it looked like – that it was a stupid mistake he had done because he was drunk and that it would never happen again. I knew that he would do this because I would’ve certainly done the same if I still was together with Keltie and if she had seen us.
Just in this second the love of my life stood up as I said and followed Sarah who was walking away probably into the kitchen. Brendon soon overtook her because due to her pregnancy she couldn’t run that fast.
Just then I fully realized what we had just done. It was the most beautiful thing but also the biggest mistake ever.
I felt sorry for Sarah who had to bear Brendon’s baby and even if she believed him that there wasn’t anything between us I knew that their whole relationship would’ve changed now.
I felt sorry for Brendon because if he really loved me he still had to stay with the woman because she would get his child. He had to marry the woman he didn’t love because that was how our society worked and that had always been my biggest nightmare.
Lastly, I felt sorry for myself because even though I had been the one to come here today everything had changed now. I knew that Brendon was also in love with me and that was even worse than thinking that he wasn’t.
I wouldn’t have thought that it was but it was most likely the worst feeling ever.

Chapter Text

Everything felt like it was a dream – a nightmare. I felt like cotton wool was wrapped all around me because I didn’t actually realize what was going on around me. The only one I saw was Brendon – his eyes, his lips, his hands, his, his, his.
Of course he had stayed with Sarah and of course she had believed him because that’s how relationships worked apparently. It was always so damn easy to blame alcohol for things as if you were another person when you were drunk – as if the monster inside you came out.
But I knew that Brendon meant what he had said. I knew that everything was real. Actually this was the only thing I knew was real for sure because I didn’t know about the rest. I didn’t know anything at all and it sucked that every time this man somehow appeared in my life I was a helpless teenager again – a little kid who needed to be told what to do because they couldn’t think by themselves.
It was a rainy day when I heard the news that shocked the whole world. I was watching the TV for once not thinking about him until he appeared on the device. I saw his face first, analyzed it, admired it and eventually heard the headline that would shock the whole world.

Brendon Urie’s – former lead singer of the Social Busters – girlfriend got delivered to a hospital earlier because of complications with her pregnancy. We don’t know anything specific yet but we’ll inform you directly when we get to know anything.
The singer and his girlfriend Sarah have announced the pregnancy a few weeks ago and she is gone six months already. Fans are shocked now and the whole world keeps their breaths. Will there be a baby at all?

As I angrily exhaled I realized that I had held my breath through the whole report. Wasn’t it kind of funny on some basis that I always got to experience what was going on in his life through the media? We didn’t talk to each other so I always got the absurd version that was delivered by reporters.
I put out the TV desperately and continued to pack my stuff. I had found an apartment in New York and would move back there in two weeks. I couldn’t stand Las Vegas anymore. There were too many memories around every corner and few of them were actually great. I realized that it had been a mistake in the first place to move back here. I just should’ve stayed in New York. It was far away from everything but especially from him.
Mikey and Spencer curiously inspected me as I arranged all the records I owned. I had to pack them really carefully because I didn’t want them to get damaged. Fortunately both my best friends were a great help for me. Actually Spencer had been the one to find me an apartment because due to his job he had some connections in New York.
I knew that both of them actually disliked the idea of me moving back to New York but we all knew that I would do it anyways. I would never listen to anyone advising me anything and that was probably why my life was such a failure after all.
“You just want to pretend like nothing happened? Like the reporter didn’t just mention Brendon?” Spencer eventually started the topic I hated to talk about the most. “Don’t mention his name.” I responded eventually even though it wouldn’t change anything since I was thinking about him 24/7 anyways.
“Los Angeles isn’t that far away.” Mikey added after a few moments of silence and I knew what he was alluring to. I looked at my best friends eventually who looked at me seriously. “What do you guys want me to do? Should I just drive there and greet Brendon and Sarah if I’d even be able to talk to the latter? To what extent would that be effective?”
As I finished talking I heard that someone had entered the apartment and shut the door. A few moments later Brent and Keltie appeared in the door of my favorite room. Neither of us would continue to live here after all this because everyone’s memories of this apartment weren’t great. It was sad because the apartment itself was amazing but memories could make the most beautiful place ugly.
I highly suspected that there was a thing going on between my half-brother and my former girlfriend and I was here for it. Since Brent had told me that he was in love with Keltie I had realized that there had been sign for months now and I would be happy if both of them managed to be happy after all. But I didn’t want to ask them because I was sure that they would tell me when they were ready.
“What’s going on?” Keltie asked seeing how serious we all were. This room had always caused so many emotions to come to the surface. I had spent hours just sitting on the floor, listening to the Social Busters’ albums and crying my eyes out like a teenage girl. But I had also had many pleasant hours finding myself in books that changed my life.
“Basically the same that we are trying to tell Ryan since forever now. Have you guys heard the news already? Sarah is in the hospital and we told Ryan here that she should drive to LA to visit the love of his life but he doesn’t want to.” Spencer started again but I didn’t want to hear anything about it anymore. I couldn’t stand my friends sometimes and a tiny part of me was actually happy that the distance between us would be enormous when I lived in NY.
“You guys are honestly so stupid? Do you really want me to drive there while his girlfriend is hurt and he is waiting there anxious as hell? What idiot would do that? Spencer, Mikey, imagine that you were in Sarah’s position. Imagine that you were laying in the hospital and that I would come there to flirt with Linda respectively Kristin while you were hurt and your girlfriend would worry about you? Would you like that?”
Both my best friends looked down embarrassedly and I had my answer. “Yeah, I thought so.” I replied leaving the room even though I had no idea where I was supposed to go at this point.
***
Later that day the news that Sarah had lost her baby bandied everywhere. I was walking through the streets and even then I heard people talking about it. It was almost as if the Queen had died but hopefully the latter wouldn’t happen soon.
Sometimes I forgot how famous Brendon actually was. Because we had had some kind of relationship he wasn’t that famous Brendon Urie for me, no, for me he was just Brendon who was still so humble and nice and funny and whom I fell in love with.
The Social Busters where currently one of the most famous bands of the decade along with the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, The Who, The Beach Boys and others – names that everyone had heard of. I had forgotten how famous they were – how famous we had actually been a few years before.
Sometimes my head changed the impression I had of all the concerts and interviews – of all the weeks we had been on tour. But then I started to realize again that I had once been part of that fucking famous band and I wondered how everybody apparently had forgotten about me.
I would never complain because when I had joined the band I had soon after realized that maybe being famous wasn’t really what I wanted in life but maybe one tiny part of me wanted it and this part wanted me to be recognized by people on the street which rarely happened anymore.
I got back to the apartment where everyone else still was. It was weird being with my friends these days because everybody knew about me and Brendon but nobody knew how to help me actually. There wasn’t any help for me – it was a hopeless situation.
I hated this tiny part of me that always wanted to do so many things that the rest didn’t but know it felt like meeting Brendon would be a good idea know. But of course it wouldn’t be. Now was probably the worst time to do that but when had it ever been a good time?
“How do you feel?” Keltie asked me the question I couldn’t find an answer for after neither of us didn’t say anything for some moments. I felt miserable of course but maybe there was this little silver lining that would be outshined anyways and I hated it.
“I don’t know how I feel, OK? Can everybody please stop asking me that? How am I supposed to feel? The love of my life’s girlfriend just lost her child and they both feel miserable now and we’re talking about fucking me here? Can’t you guys see how wrong this is? Please talk about something else – anything – but I can’t stand to be the center of everything constantly.” I was stressed and strained and I knew that if I would continue talking now I would probably say things I would regret later and I hated that I was like that.
I hated who I was without him but I hated who I was with him. I hated that we were all born in a messed up century and I hated how the society was about to change. But I also hated how it had been.
“Should we all just go?” Mikey eventually suggested and I felt like this was the best thing he had offered me today. I resignedly nodded and shortly after all the people I called my friends left the apartment which we all hated so much. I couldn’t wait any longer. Every corner of this flat reminded me of something that was rarely good.
Full of satisfaction I wandered through the rooms in which all the moving boxes where already standing. I would take few things with me when I would fly to New York in two weeks. Most of the stuff would be sent there before because like that it would already be there when I arrived in my new apartment.
The latter was again located in Greenwich Village because I felt like that was where I would fit in most likely. I had first thought about taking my old apartment but I didn’t want to remember things there like I did here and it was already rented anyways.
I continued packing because I planned to bring the boxes to the station today so they could be send to New York already. I tried not to look at all the records – somewhere in between the ones of the Social Busters. Wasn’t it crazy how music, books, movies were able to make us feel so emotional. Sometimes we were able to feel happy but sometimes we just wanted to cry our eyes out.
I felt like I would never find someone like Brendon again. I knew that people said that it would get better over the course of time but I doubted that this was the case for me. Years had passed and I still loved him whit an intensity I hadn’t thought was possible before. Love was the best and the worst thing. When you were together with the other person you felt like Hulk but when you were left alone you felt like you were about to die.
The worst thing was knowing that Brendon felt the same as I did but not being able to be with him because of everything – his girlfriend who had lost their child now, the fact that we both but especially he were famous and would never be able to live peacefully and just generally the decade and the society we lived in. It was so hard for people like us but I knew that I shouldn’t complain because there were so many people who were in even worse situations.
I went into the bathroom to shave my beard that was growing constantly. As I opened the cupboard to get my razor I remembered that there was something else I hadn’t taken in a long time. I searched the hideout and took out the coke. There were still a few grams of it and it was probably still OK because I had hidden it in a place where neither the sun nor wetness could reach it.
As I opened the package I started to doubt what I was doing probably for the first time since I had taken the coke. But then I thought that it was laying here anyways and I would move out in two weeks and couldn’t take it to New York so either I had to throw it away or take it.
It would be just this one time. Whom would it harm? I took out the substance and placed it on a toilet tissue. There were things the body never forgot and I could already feel the excitement because of what I was about to do. I snorted it through my nose and wondered why I hadn’t taken any coke in such a long time. As I always told people I wasn’t addicted – the fact that I hadn’t taken it for so long just confirmed it – but I generally felt like I barely got addicted to things.
Or maybe the alcohol was just good enough for me.
After some minutes I was already able to feel the effects of the drug. I felt great like always but not as great as I used to feel after taking the coke. Everything had changed – I had changed – and maybe nothing could really help me anymore.
Sometimes I more than regretted leaving the Social Busters because even though I had sometimes hated being on tour, being the center of attraction, I had also loved it. Back then I hadn’t realized yet that I was actually in love with the lead singer but now that I knew it for a long time I hated that I hadn’t enjoyed the time with him more or that I hadn’t stayed in the first place.
It had been me who left the band. It had been me who left him and everything that had followed was my fault. It was my own fault that I felt so miserable and I hated myself for it.
I was about to take another dose and didn’t realize that someone was standing in the doorframe. Just when the person started to talk I knew that I had fucked up again. Maybe that was what I was supposed to do on this earth – fucking things up constantly.
As I looked up I saw an angry-looking Keltie looking down to me. Tears of anger floated down her face and I knew that she wouldn’t understand me. Nobody did. Well, maybe just one person.
“Why would you do that, Ryan?” She screamed but I didn’t answer. It wouldn’t change anything anyways. And maybe deep inside me I knew that I would just tell her lies forcing me to believe them myself. She cried for me or maybe she cried for the person I was supposed to be but would never become.
I didn’t say anything the whole time and just let her calm down slowly. “Actually, I came back to tell you something and even though you’re on drugs now I’m going to tell you nevertheless.” She inhaled deeply and started to talk. “You know what we talked about earlier and how we all came to the conclusion somehow that it would be better not to visit Brendon.”
I sighed. It was about him again. Of course it was. “But I don’t think that’s right.” She continued. “The thing you two have – the bond you share – is something special. I mean you have been in love with each other for years now and you still are after all this time. Who can say something like that? Normally people would move on after some time and forget the other person and well, Brendon tried, you tried but you obviously failed.” She paused to look at me seriously.
“If two people share something that you two have you can’t just walk away from it. Yeah, things are difficult as hell and you might think that it won’t work out but maybe it will? You have to give it a fucking try after all. I know that Brendon has a girlfriend, I know that they have just lost their child and I know that the point of time couldn’t be worse but at some point you have to face each other and you have to talk deep shit.
“I don’t believe in destiny or some of that shit and you do neither but you two are probably the two people I would most likely name to be destined for each other. If I had something like that with anyone I would try to do anything in my power to be with that person-“
“I thought you and Brent…?” I interrupted her even though it was such a stupid question. “Me and Brent? A couple? No, I think you got that wrong. I’m not in love with him because my heart belongs to someone else to this day.” She looked at me intensely and I felt like I would melt under her gaze. “I’m sorry, Keltie…” I started but now she interrupted me.
“Don’t be sorry. You can’t decide whom you fall in love with but if you actually are lucky enough that the other person feels the same as you do you have to take that opportunity no matter what it costs. I know, Ryan, that we live in a world full of hate and discrimination but you have to fucking try it, OK? Maybe not today because, well… but at some point you have to meet Brendon.”
I couldn’t believe that it was actually my former girlfriend who was still in love with me who told me that I should meet the love of my life who was a man. I felt even sorrier and hated myself more because of how I had treated Keltie now.
“I know you Ryan. Don’t feel bad now because that’s just who you are. Feel good because you are one of the lucky persons who actually found the love of their life and the other person feels the same!” Keltie’s face was wet because of the tears that continued to pour down her face. And I just said “OK” and kissed her. It was a goodbye kiss and we both knew that but I tried to put everything into it and made it the best goodbye kiss ever.
And maybe it actually was OK.
I cupped her face with my hands and tasted her one last time. I tasted her tears and eventually opened my eyes as we ended the kiss. I thought about what the worst feeling was: loving someone who didn’t love you back or loving someone and knowing that they loved you back but not being able to be with them. Probably Keltie was in a worse position than myself but I was definitely complaining more.
“You’re such a strong, incredible woman.” I just said and even though I wanted to say so much more I knew that it wasn’t necessary because we understood each other without words.
She laughed unenthusiastically and wiped away her tears. “Right. And you are an arsehole.” She replied and I knew that that was right. I was the worst in every aspect of my life. But then her face turned serious again. “And Ryan, even if this thing between you and Brendon won’t work out you have to accept that because you can’t just sit here always letting him decide how you feel subconsciously. You have to learn to be happy by yourself too at some point because in the end you are the one person you have to spend your whole life with and if you constantly hate yourself you won’t live a good life either way.
“You have to love yourself and I know that it’s a long, hard journey but you have too. Otherwise it will slowly destroy you, it already is.
“Just promise me that you’ll take care of yourself. Please stop taking drugs and don’t drink so much in New York.” I promised her and thought that I should for once really keep that promise because this woman was an angel and I didn’t want to disappoint her.
Then I thought about what she had just said and realized that I maybe also didn’t want to disappoint myself after all.

Chapter Text

Almost four months had passed since I had moved back to New York. Now it was already March and one part of me started to miss Las Vegas even though this city hid so many awful memories from me. I was so used to the temperatures of my home town and was constantly freezing here on the other side of the US.
In Las Vegas it would have been about twice as warm as it was here in New York and even though I had almost complained I now missed the temperatures. But generally I didn’t regret my decision. New York was a great city and it was so easy to stay anonymous here if you wanted it.
My apartment was only about half as big as my apartment in Las Vegas had been but I had everything I needed. There was a modern kitchen with a counter where you could eat. Next to it there was the living room with a big comfortable sofa and a new television. Then there were three other doors leading off from it. One lead to the bathroom, then there was a guest room which I was pretty sure nobody would use so soon and lastly there was my own bedroom with a balcony.
And the latter was where I was sitting right now. I had always dreamt of having such a balcony just for myself where I could read, listen to music, write or just relax and observe everything like I did now.
My apartment was located on the fifth floor so the view from the balcony was pretty great. I looked at the people who were walking through the streets. There were so many even though it was already 11pm on a usual work day. But I was already used to seeing this. Big cities where always overcrowded and no matter which time it was people were always wandering through the streets.
A woman waved a taxi nearer and eventually she got into the vehicle and they disappeared – melted with the masses of other vehicles on the street. I grabbed a cigarette and lighted it. As I inhaled deeply I wondered why I was even smoking. Why did people destroy their bodies willingly. It was a game with the devil. Maybe we just wanted to challenge our health because everyone thought that other people would maybe get sick – everyone but one themselves.
At least I had stopped taking coke and drank very little alcohol these days. It had been a promise I had made towards Keltie and towards myself and for once I actually planned to keep it.
I still thought about what Keltie had told me very often. People like her were irreplaceable for people like me. I was glad that we still talked to each other through the phone sometimes. I wouldn’t say that we were friends but maybe something close to it and that was at least something.
Then, Mikey and Kristin had gotten their baby, Rowan, and I couldn’t be more proud of my best friend. I hadn’t had the chance to visit them yet but I would try to soon because I wanted to meet their child and generally I had to admit that I missed all the people I had left there.
I sighed and grabbed the book I was currently reading – “The Collector” by John Fowles. It was published a few years ago but I had never read it before. It was about a guy who became obsessed with a woman and eventually abducted her. The relationship they developed while he kept her in his basement was incredible and absurd. I hadn’t even finished the book yet but I already knew that it would probably become one of my favorites.
I could at least relate to the ‘being obsessed’ part to a certain extent because I had to admit that I had been obsessed with Brendon for years and that had been way too long. Of course it was something completely different in the book and I would never act like the main character had but still there was something about this book that astonished me.
Like Keltie had said I had tried to move on. Of course I still loved Brendon and at this point I thought that maybe I always would but it was OK. I had accepted that I would maybe never see him again and if I did that was great.
I had just finished reading the last page of the book and was lost in my thoughts – shocked by the end of the book and I couldn’t stop thinking about it – as someone actuated the doorbell. I barely heard it because the traffic was loud but eventually I got up and opened the door.
Now I had to admit that one part of me would maybe always hope that Brendon would stand on the other side so I was a little bit disappointed when I saw that it wasn’t him. Instead it was Pete and that was maybe even better at this point.
I hadn’t seen him in such a long time – I couldn’t even say when we had met each other the last time – but now that he was standing right in front of me I realized how much I had actually missed my friend and former manager.
“I had to travel to New York for some days because of the record label. There is that new promising band called Deep Purple and we wanted to meet here. I wanted to have a look at them and see if we would sign them. But anyways, I decided that I could come here a few days before to meet you. It has been a while, man.” Pete explained and I saw a sadness in his face that wasn’t just caused by our long separation.
“It’s great to see you, man.” I responded and hugged him. Pete had a little suitcase on his side and I wanted to take it to bring it to the guest room but he didn’t stop hugging me. Just then I realized that something was really wrong because my friend was crying and I had never seen this man cry before.
I somehow led him to the sofa in the living and we sat down. I didn’t say anything because I wanted him to talk to me whenever he was ready. I had always been and still was uncomfortable when someone around me was crying because I never knew how to behave correctly. It was such a weird situation because in the end you could barely help the other person and both of you didn’t feel great afterwards.
Pete eventually stopped crying or at least I thought so because he had cried so quietly that I had barely realized before that he was crying in the first place. My friend looked at me and his expression showed me that his heart was broken.
“Ashlee and I broke up. It’s over. We’re going to file for divorce now.” He explained and even though I had expected something like that I was shocked. They had always seemed like the perfect couple – well maybe not perfect but as least so functioning that they would stay together. But what did I know? People were so good at pretending and also I hadn’t seen Pete and Ashlee together for such a long time and things changed.
If this was good or bad was something we often just experienced later. “What about Bronx?” I asked even though I maybe should’ve said something comforting instead. But as I said I was so bad at handling such situations. Pete looked at me, now seriously. His tears had dried up and now he looked like a serious adult.
“I don’t know. He’s going to live with Ashlee I guess and meet me at the weekends. I mean that’s how divorced people usually handle these situations, right?” I nodded but just because I didn’t know what else to say. “Where will you live now?” I continued even though these questions wouldn’t help either of us now. I wondered why Pete had come here because he knew that I wasn’t good at helping others.
“I’m going to live at Patrick’s for some time. Elisa said that she doesn’t have a problem with that since her house is big enough and I don’t think that Declan is too unhappy about that too.” I heard the sadness in Pete’s voice. He wouldn’t see his son very often now but instead he would see another child every day.
“How’s Patrick? And how is every one of the Dark Blue Lions? I continued to ask because I hadn’t heard anything from any of them for a long time. The last time I had seen most people had been at Brendon’s party but even the latter was now many months ago. At this point most members from the three bands that had existed a few years ago were going separate ways. The only ones I obviously still stayed in touch with were Spencer and Mikey and Pete even though I now saw even them not that often.
I wouldn’t say that I regretted having moved here to New York but well, maybe sometimes I did.
“Actually I don’t know if the band still exists…” Pete started and I was surprised because I didn’t even know that. “No, I mean we’re all fine. Patrick has his wife and his child and Joe also does. Andy is still together with Meredith and everyone is doing fine excluding the fact that I’m going to file for divorce with Ashlee… but we’ve all come to the conclusion that the band wasn’t working anymore. We’re all exhausted so we have decided to take a break. Who knows if we’ll ever come back but that’s how it is now.
I suddenly stood up looking at the bassist. I had actually thought that if there was one band that would stay together it was them but maybe we all weren’t made for being together in bands. Maybe at least I wasn’t made for being on stage at all.
“I’m shocked obviously.” I started but decided that it was probably for the best if we wouldn’t talk about that anymore. Pete had come here because he wanted to be distracted. “OK, you can use the guest room there.” I added showing him the room on the opposite side of mine. It had never been used before but now I was great that I had furnished it. Pete nodded, took his suitcase and disappeared in the room.
After some minutes I decided to check on him because I didn’t know what else to do. I often still felt as if I was an insecure teenager and even though I was working on myself and was trying to figure out what I wanted there sometimes where these little situations where I was so anxious to do something even though it was just ridiculous.
Pete was my friend and I knew that I didn’t need to be anxious but I still was. It wasn’t like a switch to turn off or on. As I entered the room I saw that Pete was laying on the bed and just a few moments later I realized that he was sleeping. He was still wearing all his clothes and it looked like he immediately fell asleep after throwing himself on the bed.
I mustered my friend who was a good seven years older than me and realized that even he was anxious and not fully settled in life. Maybe that was something few people reached in the end. But I knew that it was something everyone could work on and I tried my best.
Pete was a few inches shorter than me and he seemed so small laying on the bed. I had always considered him beautiful with his black hair, the brown eyes that were often circled with black eyeliner and the band merch he was usually wearing. But I never thought about Pete in a sexual or rather romantic way. I never would because he was just a friend for me. It was the same for Spencer and Mikey and generally most men.
I hated that people always thought that people like me would fuck every men but other men also wouldn’t fuck every woman so I didn’t understand why everyone was saying that.
I hated the world we were living in but because that was the case I tried not to hate myself anymore. There was nothing we could do but accept everything as it was. One could change few things but in the end people’s characters wouldn’t change. Seasons changed but people didn’t.
I quietly closed the door because I had been standing in the door frame for way too long, again lost in my thoughts. It had been comforting to have an apartment just for myself in the last months. It had made me realize that I maybe also wasn’t made for living with other people after all. I was a loner in every aspect of my life but I was OK with that.
Now that Pete was here it would be the first time since I had moved here that I would sleep in this apartment with someone else in the next room. Maybe I was a little bit spoiled because there had been times where I had slept in a bunk in a tour bus and hadn’t had a problem with that and now I was here having an apartment just for myself.
I got back to my room and to the balcony where the book I had finished before was still laying. I carried it back to my room and then took the typewriter and got back to the balcony. I had spent some of the last weeks writing – I didn’t even know what I wrote exactly but it was probably Brendon’s and my story – at least to some extent.
Even back when I had still written music writing had always been some kind of therapy for me and I had realized that I needed it to feel good. I sat down at my usual place and started typing again hearing the sounds of the traffic in the background.
* I think about this city that holds so many memories for me. Many of them aren’t great but if I start to think deeply I have to admit that there are also many great ones.
I remember how we have first met each other back when we have both been clueless and stupid but also free. I couldn’t believe it back then – I just couldn’t – and sometimes it still feels like a miracle for me. How is it possible that you came to this place and that we’ve met there? How is it already so many years ago? It feels like another life but maybe it is. I have been another person back then and you have been too. Things have been hard back then but at the same time they had been so easy. We didn’t know what was about to happen to us. We were so clueless.
I remember how we have first kissed each other in the tiny messy apartment I have lived in back then. Everything has been so messy and wet and fucked up and perfect. It has never been like that again. You have come to my place and I didn’t have any intentions really. Of course I wanted to kiss you to but when we finally kissed I was shocked. How could someone like you actually like me? I was a nobody and you were a god for me. But that’s different now.
I remember how we have first slept with each other. It has been so unexpected but also it hasn’t been because we have both wanted it so much. We have been in that messy bus but we didn’t need anything else because it was enough to have each other. Back then we were still able to talk with each other and to laugh with each other and everything was so easy compared to as it is now. Back then she wasn’t there yet and you didn’t fall for her. I could’ve prevented it even though I didn’t even know about her existence back then. I could’ve prevented it but I have just walked away and let you fall into her arms.
* I stopped typing because tears veiled my sight. I was over it at this point but writing about Brendon was still hard. It was hard but it also felt good. Writing was a weird kind of therapy because it made you remember everything which was sad but it also helped you to a certain extent.
It was already after one am in the middle of the night and finally the traffic had become less. There were still some people and vehicles on the streets but not as many anymore. I grabbed my blanket, the typewriter and everything else I had carried outside before and eventually got in. Just then I realized that I was actually freezing. Even though I had always preferred colder temperatures I had grown up in Las Vegas and my body still hadn’t forgotten the weather there.
How was it possible that time flew by so fast? It felt like yesterday that we had all celebrated the new year 1966 but it was actually more than three years ago now. Back then everything had still been like a dream for me. I had never felt better than I had felt these days and maybe it was due to the coke but it was probably even more because of Brendon.
I had never had an easy life. So many people I had loved had died, I had been abused, I had to live on the streets and I had to work so hard. It had always been hard but for some reason I felt like I had never felt as bad as I had felt in the last few years where Brendon and I hadn’t been together. It was ridiculous what love could do to one because I thought about this guy way more often than about my parents and the latter were actually dead.
I wondered what they would’ve thought about Brendon – the former Mormon boy who became the lead singer of such a famous band – but why would it matter anyways? My father had been drunk way too often to realize anything and my mother had been dead inside after some time. Still, I had had a good childhood probably because children barely realized when something was deeply wrong. Adults where so good at hiding things and my parents had always been good to me. Plus I had never had the gift to be a good observer so I had realized that something was different from other families pretty late.
***
The next few days literally flew by. Pete was staying at my apartment and we were experiencing the city like tourists all over again. Even though I was living here and Pete had been in New York before it was still fun to do that. I felt like we both needed a distraction from our lives – Pete probably more than myself.
It was weird that people barely recognized one on the streets. Obviously we had both been wearing sunglasses but still there were few people who spoke to us. Maybe it was because of the fact that nobody would expect two world-famous people to do normal tourist things. But that was even funnier.
Maybe doing this had been the reason for Pete to come here earlier. Maybe he had been sick of his environment like I had been of mine. Then there came the day where he had to go back to work. Like Pete had told me before there was this band he considered signing.
“Do you maybe want to join me?” he asked as while were eating breakfast. It was nothing special, just some cereal and a coffee for both of us. I looked at my friend skeptically. “Why should I?” I eventually asked even though I kind of liked the idea. I didn’t like being the center of attention but I had to admit that there was a tiny part inside of me who maybe did.
Pete laughed and I was glad that he was. “I don’t know. Wouldn’t it be funny if we both appeared there? Pete Wentz and Ryan Ross. I mean nobody would expect it.” We looked at each other and I started to like the idea. I didn’t know the band called Deep Purple yet but Pete showed me some songs of them and I really liked their style.
We were about to meet in a studio which belonged to Pete’s record label. Luckily it was easily accessible on foot but it wasn’t really unusual because I was living in the artistically area of the city. In front of the building were standing five guys who were maybe a few years younger than me. They looked nervous but wasn’t that justified?
“You’ve probably heard of Ryan Ross.” Pete presented me as we had reached them. Everyone nodded, some of them looking more perplex than others but eventually we all got inside the building. It was modern and appealing and I was actually surprised that Pete’s label had become so big over the course of time.
I inspected the lobby and didn’t realize what was about to follow in that moment. Just when he started to talk I realized that Brendon was standing just in front of me. “Hey Ryan.” He whispered not being able to look into my eyes. Next to the love of my life stood Spencer – my best friend – who looked at me apologetically.
What were they doing here together? “Oh Ryan, I forgot to mention that Spencer and Brendon would be here too. But this isn’t a problem, right? OK, I’ll lead you to the studio then.” Pete looked at me and just then realized that it was a problem.
I positioned a fake smile on my face and we passed by Spencer and Brendon. I felt betrayed in every aspect of my life but mostly because my best friend was apparently working with the love of my life. I felt numb but I realized that I couldn’t let this man destroy my life again.
I looked back as we continued walking and just in that moment Brendon moved around too. Our eyes locked for barely a second but I was able to see everything I felt in them. Maybe he was and would always be the only person I would be able to read like a book.

Chapter Text

A few days later I was sitting on my balcony again. Pete had left New York a few hours ago and now I was alone what I really appreciated. It wasn’t that I didn’t like him – he was my friend after all – but I had just realized that being in the same apartment with someone else was too much for me in the long run.
It was about noon and I had brought my typewriter outside. For a change it was a sunny day and pretty warm for New York. Because I had a sunblind over my balcony I sat in the shadows but still appreciated the sun. It had been cold for so long.
I mustered the people and the vehicles driving through the streets as I often did. There was a man about my age sitting on a balcony in the house opposite of the one I was living in. He was reading the newspaper and after some minutes a woman appeared and they smiled at each other. Why couldn’t I just fall in love with a woman as everyone did? It would be so much easier but then, what had ever been easy in my life?
Eventually I started typing and got lost in the words all over again.
I hate you but I still love you. You have destroyed my life and you have destroyed my hometown for me. I have lived in a city full of memories I wanted to forget. But then, maybe I didn’t.
I hate you but I still love you. You have changed my life completely by giving me the opportunity to do what I love or at least I thought so. Was it for the worse or for the better? Maybe both.
I hate you but I still love you. Because of you I still don’t know what I want in life. Every time I see you I feel like I’m a little boy again who constantly needs to be told what to do. I’m a little boy who is at your mercy. You can do what you want and I’d still love you.
I hate you but I still love you. And that has to stop. We can’t ever be together. Because of her. Because of this time. Because of the society we live in. We can’t ever be together and I have to stop loving you.
I’m the little boy and you’re my mother who has to tell me what to do. So please tell me that I should stop loving me.
I didn’t even know what I was doing here but as I typed the last word someone was ringing the doorbell. I got back to the reality and got up to open. Maybe writing all this was my way to bring off this part of my life. Maybe it would help me to find myself. I had hoped that moving to another city would help but until now it hadn’t really.
I wondered who the person standing on the other side of my door was because I wasn’t expecting anyone. When would I ever? All my friends were living on the other side of the country but I wondered if I was still able to call them friends. Spencer had betrayed me by bonding with Brendon and he hadn’t even visited me even though he was in the same city as me which barely happened anymore.
I breathed in and eventually opened the door. I would’ve expected many people but when Brendon stood in front of me I was shocked. Maybe one part of me had hoped that he would appear here since he was in New York but the bigger part of me still tried to forget him so desperately. I had been doing pretty good actually until he appeared here.
“Hey Ryan.” He said like he did a few days ago still not looking me into the eyes. I nodded and let him in because I knew that I had no choice. We sat down on my couch and it reminded me of the time where I had appeared in front of Brendon’s house out of nowhere. It was so weird that he was here now, that he was in my apartment in this city so far away from the one he lived in.
I didn’t dare to look him in the eyes either and we just sat there while the uncomfortable silence surrounded us. “Sarah and I broke up.” My counterpart eventually said and that was when I finally looked at him. I expected him to be sad – at least a little bit – but instead he was – not happy – but somehow satisfied. I nodded again because I didn’t know what else to do.
“So?” he added and that was when I had to answer. “So what, Brendon? What do you want me to say now? Yeah, you two broke up and now we can be together? No, that’s not how it works. You can’t just appear here and expect that I’m waiting for you the whole time. And now that we’re both unbound that doesn’t mean that it changes anything. I mean you had even kissed me when you had still been in a relationship so I guess this word doesn’t mean anything to either of us.”
Brendon looked down ashamed and I was glad he was. I wasn’t like a puppet. Maybe I wasn’t the little boy I wrote about after all. I needed to have my own mind and I needed to make my own decisions no matter if other people liked them or not. I had been addicted to this guy for way too long.
“You can’t treat me like that. I have been addicted to you for way too long, you know? I have waited and I know that I have been the one who left you after the accident but I have always loved you. Just now I have realized that it maybe wasn’t worth it.” I was proud of myself for saying such things because I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to do so just a short time ago.
“But Ryan? Why do you say stuff like that? We’re in love, aren’t we? You have told me so just a few months ago!” Brendon started but when he saw my serious face he stopped abruptly. I thought that some part of him realized that this had been a stupid idea. He was desperate to be loved and I wanted it to, but not like this.
“Yes Brendon. I have been in love with you. You’re the love of my life but it’s too late now. You can’t just appear here after you have broken up with your girlfriend and expect me to what? – be together with you? Oh my goodness, I’ve gone through so much because of you, you can’t even imagine but now I have realized that it was just too much after all.”
There was a silence between us that I have never experienced before. I didn’t feel anything anymore because I knew that this was the right thing to do. I wouldn’t get together with him now, it just wasn’t right. His girlfriend had lost their baby a few months ago and she needed him more than I had ever needed Brendon before. Obviously I hadn’t cared about that before but now I did. I did so much.
“A wise person once told me” I eventually continued because Brendon was still silent due to the shock probably “that you first have to love yourself before you can be able to love someone else completely. I guess we both have to figure that out first.” Finally the other guy looked into my eyes and I saw that he understood what I meant. This had probably just been another of his imprudent actions after all.
“We’ve both made mistakes, really bad mistakes but you know what?” I looked into his eyes and saw that he maybe started to understand what I meant. Maybe. “I don’t regret anything, no really, I don’t! Because what I have done in the past makes me who I am today and who I will be in the future. And I’m trying to be another person, a better person – the best version of myself. And I have figured out that I can’t be the latter when I’m with you.”
I knew that these were harsh words and I also knew that I’d have never said this just a few months ago but now I knew that they were true. It wasn’t healthy to be so obsessed with a person and to constantly wait for them to be ready. That had been what I had been doing with Brendon. We had had a toxic relationship from the start. Because we had both been in the spotlight and two guys who were living in the 60s we had been doomed from the start.
I was pretty sure that other people would’ve figured out their problems somehow but we were everything but normal. I sometimes wished to be more than everything.
Brendon nodded, still looking shocked and I couldn’t blame him. Somehow we both knew that this was the end of everything or maybe the beginning. It was definitely a cut and I knew that a new life would begin for both of us when we would part. Everything would change but everything would stay the same.
Brendon would travel back to Los Angeles and I would stay here in New York. We would both continue to live our lives and eventually we would get new partners hoping that everything would be easier then.
Neither of us said a word as Brendon stood up and approached the door. For the first time probably since we had known each other the silence between us didn’t mean anything – it wasn’t weird, uncomfortable or sad but it wasn’t satisfying, happy or enjoyable either. It was a goodbye itself.
Brendon’s hand laid on the door handle as he turned around one last time. The last look between us was full of different emotions but we wouldn’t talk about that anymore. Everything that had to be said was said and both of us had to deal with the rest ourselves. The love of my life eventually walked out of my apartment, out of this city and out of my life.
I felt numb but on the same side I felt everything. I felt nothing but I knew that there were so many emotions that I was able to hide. At some point I had to deal with them but not now. Now I would just process everything that had just happened.
He walked down the stairs and one second later I couldn’t see Brendon anymore. I didn’t want to remember him this way – a silent, sad guy who was begging for something he wouldn’t get. I wanted to remember him as he had been in his best days – on tour with the band, constantly happy. I thought about these days where we had stolen secret kisses from each other and realized that this time a few years ago had certainly been the best of both our lives.
I would probably be able to be happy again, I would continue to live my life but I knew that I would never be able to get these days back, no matter what I would do. After all he was the love of my life and we both knew that we would never find someone else – at least nobody where it felt like it had when we had been together.
I got back to the balcony which somehow had become my favorite place since I had moved here. The latter had actually been one of the reasons why I had chosen this apartment. Since I had been a little boy I had always imagined to sit on a balcony in my own apartment and to write or to read or whatever. Now I still had the time to do that but I knew that I had to move on and do something else at some point.
I sat down under the blanket because the sun had disappeared now just like Brendon had disappeared. I knew that it had been the right thing for both of us but still, it hurt. The words were formed in my mind and I started typing like a madmen.
We both knew that it would happen. We have always tried to delay it but it had to happen at some point. Now you’re gone and I’m sitting here alone. But then I realize that I’m not alone. I have myself actually and I have to make peace with the latter first.
You will be there and I will be here and we will both be fine. We will continue to live our lives and we will be fine.
I don’t regret anything – how could I? – and I will always think about you and about the time we had together positively. Cause it has been the best time of my whole life.
Maybe there is a parallel universe where we can actually be lovers – another world where people like us would be accepted by the society and where we would accept each other. This thought makes me happy. So happy.
I think about that. We’re together in another universe – in another life and it makes me happy. But in this life we can’t be together. Too much happened and if we were it would destroy me completely.
Too much. Or maybe too little?
You’re just too intense for me in this life but think about us being together in another universe. We would sit on the balcony of our apartment together wrapped in a blanket. We would drink tea, talk about music and I would read a book while you wrote a song maybe. We would laugh and we would be entirely happy.
Wouldn’t that be nice?
The doorbell interrupted me again and I stood up to open my apartment door. Again I wondered who would visit me. It was unusual that one person came here on one day but two person on one day was very suspicious.
I took one last breath and eventually opened the door – again – to see Spencer standing in front of it. My best friend had apparently to visit me after all. Maybe it was childish that I was cheesed with him but I didn’t care. I turned around going to the living room knowing that he would follow me. It was weird being here again considering that Brendon had been here barely half an hour ago.
“I’m sorry.” Spencer started. At least he knew that I was annoyed because of what he had done. “I had no choice, really. They forced me to work with Brendon, OK? I mean I need the money and if I would’ve declined I would’ve gotten much less.” He looked into my eyes and I knew that Spencer was serious. How could I have doubted him again?
I sighed. “Why are you guys in New York then?” I asked trying to process what my best friend had just told me. “Oh goodness Ryan, don’t you know yet?” He answered astonished and I shook my head. What was there to know? I didn’t know if I would be able to bear more.
“Brendon” he started. I hadn’t expect to hear this name so soon after his departure. “Brendon has moved here about one month ago. After he has broken up with Sarah he has needed a new beginning just like you. So I have come here because apparently your guy has started to work on music again and here I am.”
Spencer inspected me considering how I would react after this news. I slowly sat down on the sofa. Wasn’t it funny that I had moved to the other side of the country and now we were living in the same city again? Now the distance between us was even lesser than before.
I started laughing manically. “He was here before, you know?” I eventually said and now Spencer was the one to be shocked. “He was?” my best friend said and I nodded. “Yeah, just like thirty minutes ago. He has told me about the break up and then he has been stupid enough to confess me his love again.” I laughed again because the situation was just too ridiculous. But I eventually stopped when I saw Spencer’s serious face.
“But isn’t that great? Ryan, I thought that was what you had always wanted? Sarah and Brendon broken up, he confessing that he is in love with you? Wasn’t it?” I nodded. “It was but it isn’t anymore. I have realized that I have honestly spent the last few years just thinking about Brendon, being addicted to him which wasn’t healthy anymore. I had always hoped for this to happen, so much, but now that it has I have realized that it isn’t anymore. Things change, you know? But that’s OK. It will be OK.”
I realized that I had started crying while saying these words because I saw the world through a veil. At some point Spencer wrapped his arms around me. Maybe he was crying too but it was just great to have him hug me. It was always when I saw the people I loved again after some months that I realized how much I had actually missed them.
“Have I ever told you that I love you?” I whispered barely loud enough for him to hear. “Because I do, OK? I love you more than I would be able to love my own brother.” It was true. I knew Spencer for so many years now and we had gone through so much together and there was no relative that could mean more to me than he did at this point.
Of course I loved Brent too but it was something else completely. I had known the latter for just a few while I had known my best friend almost my whole life. Family weren’t just your blood relatives. Family was who you chose to be with you later in life.
“OK, OK, let’s stop crying like little boys now. What do you think about reunion with everyone?” Spencer looked at me expectantly and of course I nodded. “Follow me.” He added and I just did. I grabbed my coat, wallet and keys and we went downstairs. There was a cab standing in front of my apartment and I didn’t even want to know how much Spencer needed to pay for it afterwards.
The driver greeted me happily because he would get so much money today. I nodded again overwhelmed with the situation. “Where are we driving?” I dared to ask eventually but Spencer just looked at me knowingly. The cab drove through the streets of the city that were always overcrowded and eventually it came to a stop of diner. I realized that I could definitely need something to eat at this point.
Spencer smirked and I still didn’t understand what was going on. He gave the cab driver the horrendous amount of money and then the latter drove away. “Are you ready?” My best friend said, still smirking. “Ready for what?” I replied but he had already entered the diner one second later. I figured that I had no choice but follow him.
First I didn’t realize who these people were because I had though they were just random customers and I had always been a slow thinker but then I realized it.
Everyone was there. Literally everyone. Andy Soukal, Nick Murray and Mike Naran who had supported me when I had had my solo tour were standing next to the door. Then there was Zack with a woman that was maybe his girlfriend.
Next to them were Pete and even Bronx. Further I saw Patrick, Joe and Andy, the former drummer of the Social Busters. Frank and Gerard were also there and I was especially happy to see the latter appreciating that he looked much better than he had the last time I had seen him.
Even Jon had come and next to him was Brendon. I saw him but it didn’t hurt anymore. Brendon and I had come to a conclusion.
Lastly there were the few people that meant more to me than anyone else. Brent and Keltie and Spencer and Mikey each with their wives. I was more than happy and entirely grateful that I had people like them. Because that was what life was about: Finding your own family – no matter if they were your relatives or people you found otherwise.
Finding people you loved more than anything, people who loved and supported you. I was home. I had needed a long time to realize it but home wasn’t a place. It was where the people you loved where.
I thought about my parents and about all the other people I had loved but already lost. When I had been a teenager I would’ve never even dreamed about finding a new family but now I had and I had to be eternally grateful for that.
I smiled greeting everyone and realized how happy I was actually supposed to be surrounded by all these people. I was happy. Oh, I was.

Chapter Text

“We got to go.” Spencer said to the people we or rather he had just talked to. We were sitting in a diner and some fans had just recognized me. If I had to be honest I still had problems to cope with such situations. I tried to handle them by listening and talking to the fans but it felt so weird. I couldn’t understand how someone was able to look up to me after all.
I smiled at them one last time until we left the diner eventually. “You have to learn to handle such situations.” My best friend said and I nodded as a response. It was always so easy for him. Spencer had never had problems with self-consciousness and anxiety. Every time we had given an interview or had to talk to fans he had always been so calm. Or maybe he had always been better at hiding his anxiety.
“Now it’s more important than ever that you have to handle fans and generally people.” He added and I nodded again. I knew that he was right but there was nothing else I could have said. We entered the cab that was already waiting for us and would bring us to the New York building of Pete’s record label. In the last few months my best friend had spent much time in the city I lived in now and I knew that Linda and he actually thought about moving here too.
Mikey, Kristin and their child were still living in Las Vegas which was why I barely saw them but it was fine because I knew that my other best friend wanted to be with them now. The cab threw us off in front of the building I had last been in when Pete had signed Deep Purple. It was weird being here again considering what we were about to do.
“Let’s do this.” I said with a determination I didn’t know I had for a long time. Spencer and I exchanged one last look and eventually got in the building. I knew that Pete wasn’t here today but instead a woman welcomed us. We got to a meeting room and as we entered it I saw that Jon and Brendon were already there. We exchanged quick looks and smiles.
It still was weird sometimes – seeing him after everything that had happened knowing where we were now – but we had both handled it pretty good. Spencer and I sat down at the enormous table. “Hey guys.” I started because somebody had to say something. “Do we really want to do this?” I added looking at everyone – not accusingly but seriously because I knew that I wanted to do this.
“I certainly want to.” Brendon responded smiling at me. It wasn’t a fake smile and it wasn’t one of these that wanted more. It was just a real genuine smile between two people who meant much to each other. Jon and Spencer agreed too and I realized that there was nothing that could stop us now. Everything would change now.
“May I ask all of you to sign here… and here?” The woman interfered and we all did as she had said. She smiled as everyone had finished. “Welcome back, Social Busters.” Yeah, welcome back.
***
The concert would start in a few minutes and I was excited as hell. Our first show in years would take place in Las Vegas which was pretty odd considering everything that had happened in this city. We were playing in the same concert hall as we had the last time and even though Brendon and I weren’t together now I still got goosebumps when I thought about what had happened after the last show.
I thought about all the times where I had taken drugs – where the latter had been the only way I could’ve survived a show but I certainly wouldn’t take them anymore. I had realized that it just did damage to everyone. To me obviously but also to all the people around me. Everyone had always told me that I had to stop and I hadn’t back then because I hadn’t cared or maybe I had just wanted to show people that I could do what I wanted to.
But now I was another person and I wouldn’t be so careless anymore. I had changed and everything else had too. It was June 1969 and years had passed since we had been on stage together the last time.
“You got this, Ryan.” Mikey – who was backstage with me – said and I knew that I had. “No drugs, right?” I nodded. There had been a time where Zack – who was fortunately again the manager of our band – had searched my whole body but now he hadn’t and I was glad that everyone apparently trusted me. They trusted me and I didn’t want to betray them again.
The opening band came backstage which meant that we would have to get up there now. Even though I wanted this I still was anxious. What would the fans think about us being together again? After everything that had happened would they still like us?
The idea of bringing the band back together had been developed on this special day when we had all met up in New York. Neither of us had actively written or played music for a long time but somehow we had all gotten along together so well and realized that we had missed it. And now we were back on stage a few months later. We would play the same songs as we had years ago. We had managed to write one new song that would have its premiere today but generally we had wanted to come back to the stage as soon as possible.
Fans had slowly started to find out about the reunion because we hadn’t officially announced it but when the ticket sale had started everyone had immediately known. I hadn’t dared to read or hear people’s opinions about the reunion yet – we all hadn’t – so we were completely unprepared. Neither of us knew what to expect out there.
“You have to go now.” Zack told us after a few more minutes had already passed. I could hear the cheering of the crowd after we prepared for going on stage. I had to go first to take my position on Brendon’s right side. After me Spencer would follow, then Jon and lastly the lead singer people were probably most excited for.
“Now.” Zack said giving me an assuring smile and I set one foot in front of the other to walk out there. I walked up the few stairs while my legs felt like they were chewing gum or something worse. Then I saw the crowd. There were so many people and I immediately knew that it hadn’t been a mistake to come here today. It had been the best thing I had done in a long time.
People were screaming as I took my position on the right side of the stage. I barely noticed how the others followed me. Just when the crowd slowly got quiet I realized that everyone was looking at me expectantly.
“Hello Las Vegas.” I said into the microphone and the cheering got louder again. I smiled genuinely because even though I would’ve never thought so before I now realized how much I had missed being on the stage and playing music. Every person had to make compromises in order to be able to do what they loved and even if I had to talk to fans and give interviews and whatever I knew that it was worth it. This feeling while I was standing on the stage was too incredible and I certainly wouldn’t fuck it up this time.
“This city will always have a special place in our hearts. It is our hometown. It is where we have met each other and it is where so many things have happened. I would need days to tell you about it but that would certainly bore you.” I laughed as the crowd screamed something that sounded like ‘NO!’
Then I got serious. “This is our first concert in years. You know, if you would’ve asked me to bring the Social Busters back together like one year ago I would’ve laughed at you. It would’ve been too ridiculous for me. But now here we are, here you are, so many of you and I will be eternally grateful that you still are after all these years.
“First of all I want you all to think about Dallon Weekes for a moment. I had taken his place years ago but I know that I hadn’t been a good replacement and I want to apologize for that.” Sometimes I forgot that this guy had been the reason why I had become a part of this band. It wasn’t funny at all but it was at it was. If Dallon wouldn’t have died I would’ve never gotten into this band.
“Then I want to take this moment now to thank everyone that is standing on this stage with me. Jon whom I haven’t seen in years until we’ve met a few months ago. It was his idea really to bring the old band back together so please thank him too!” The crowd cheered again and Jon’s “Thank you, Ryan.” was barely audible because it was so loud.
“Then I want to thank Spencer who has been my best friends since we’ve been little boys. We’ve gone through so much together and there had been a time where we haven’t talked to each other but I’m so eternally grateful that after all this time I’m still allowed to call him my best friend. To Spencer Smith, the underappreciated drummer!” The cheering was incredibly loud again and I laughed another time.
“Last but not least I want to think Brendon, the lead singer, without him this whole thing wouldn’t have been possible. You know that we have met in a bar I had worked in back then. He was so drunk that I had put him in a cab just to realize later that the infamous Brendon Urie was my neighbor.” Brendon and I smiled at each other real quick. “You have to know that I had had four jobs back then and I had been living in a shitty apartment but back then Brendon had been on his undercover-trip. This certainly wouldn’t work anymore today.” The crowd cheered again but I was just looking at him. At the end I hadn’t talked to the crowd anymore, I had talked just to him.
“I love you, guys, and I love you, crowd. You are the reason why this will hopefully work this time.” I paused again and as we already started to play the first tones of our new song I quickly added: “This is our new single and it’s called “The End Of All Things”. You guys will be the first ones to hear it and I really hope you like it.”

Whether near or far
I am always yours
Any change in time
We are young again

Lay us down
We're in love
Lay us down
We're in love

Ahhhh
Ahhhh
Ahhhh
Ahhhh

In these coming years
Many things will change
But the way I feel
Will remain the same

Lay us down
We're in love
Lay us down
We're in love

Ahhhh
Ahhhh
Ahhhh
Ahhhh

The concert was over way too fast and I was feeling all the emotions again. It had been so long since I had played all the songs live and I remembered all the times where I had been drugged on stage and where I had been just a shadow of myself. I wondered if fans had realized that something had been wrong with me. Maybe they had because I hadn’t actually hidden my state very well.
We gathered us backstage and I saw that Mikey was fortunately still there. Next to him stood his brother who was smiling at me. Gerard had been so much better recently and I was glad to see that. Mikey had told me that he even had a girlfriend now which had surprised me but I just hoped that she made him honestly happy.
“You guys have been so great. The crowd has loved you. We all have.” My best friend’s brother started as I approached them. “Thank you. I actually don’t know how I have survived the last few years without being on stage.” I responded but I probably knew if I had to be honest. I had always experienced being on stage as something I had to do. As the months had flown by I had forgotten to appreciate how lucky I had actually been to have that opportunity.
I had thrown it all away – the band, the fans and Brendon – but now I knew how lucky I actually was to be able to sing these songs that meant so much to me in front of thousands of people.
“Guys, you have to go outside and talk with the fans. You know, sign stuff and listen to them.” Zack eventually said especially looking at me. “Behave, Ryan.” He added and I nodded. I would this time even though handling fans was still the most difficult thing for me. We crossed the whole backstage area and left the hall through the back door. Still, there were so many fans waiting for us behind a temporary fence.
I was surprised to see really young people as well as older ones. There were fans who had known us back then but apparently there were also new ones and I really appreciated that they had come here. I just approached the crowd headfirst seeing that Brendon, Jon and Spencer were doing the same.
I signed records, t-shirts, posters, self-made sketches, hats, and sometimes even certain body parts. Without complaining I just did what the fans wanted. I hadn’t realized it before but they were actually the reason why all of this was working. They bought our records and our merch even years after and wasn’t it our responsibility to give them something back? If a signed record made them happy than I was happy too.
Eventually Zack told us that we were free to go and we got into our tour bus that was now fancier than ever. It wouldn’t be such a big time as it had been ’66 this time – just twelve shows throughout America because we all wanted to see if this thing still worked. This evening had shown us all that it was. We had already been talking about a new album. Normally bands would first record a new one before going on tour but it would be different this time.
Everything was so damn different. I wasn’t the same naïve person I had been a few years before. We had all grown up even more and I honestly hoped that the band would work out this time.
There were some roadies in the bus as well as Zack and I had to think about the last time we had all been in a tour bus together. The worst thing ever had happened back then and I knew that we all thought about it – that we all thought about Ray and Bob who we hadn’t known well but still – it had been the gunshot that had injured and eventually killed the band.
It certainly hadn’t been a shock because so many things had happened before but the accident had just been the thing that was too much for me eventually. I thought about this time again – why was I always so nostalgic? – because the time I had spent in the band had certainly been the best and worst one of my life.
A guy I didn’t know sat down in the driver’s seat and eventually started the vehicle. Flashbacks appeared but I didn’t dare to think about them deeply. It was just too bad. Our next show would take place in Los Angeles – another city I had many memories of. There was a house of memories inside my head – inside everyone’s head – but I didn’t have access to every room of this house. At least not yet.
I grabbed my guitar eventually because I didn’t want to go to sleep yet. Nobody was sleeping so soon. Everybody was in the front area of the bus where you could sit down and chat so I decided to go to the back where I had a little bit privacy. I wouldn’t get much of the latter so I needed to enjoy every minute I got.
“What are you playing?” Brendon who had found me said as he sat next to me. He looked good. I would even dare to say that he looked better than he had ever had before – physically as well as when I analyzed his behavior and how he probably felt.
“I don’t know. Just some stuff that is going through my head.” I responded and Brendon nodded. I was already excited to record a new album even though we still had this little tour first.
“It will never be how it has been, right?” I added after neither of us hadn’t said anything for a few moments. As Brendon looked at me I felt like he was not looking at me but through me. At least that was something that would probably never change.
“No, it won’t.” Brendon eventually sighed and now it was my part to nod. I had known that, it wasn’t a surprise but now that he had confirmed it it still felt weird.
“Guys, you have to see this!” Spencer’s voice was audible through the whole bus. Our moment was over and both Brendon and I got to the front of the bus. Everyone was sitting in front of the TV that we had fortunately the pleasure to have in this tour bus.
First I didn’t understand what was going on. It was a live program that showed pictures of some kind of riot in and also in front of a club. There weren’t many people but it constantly seemed to become more.
* Today, 1:20 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, 1969, four plainclothes policemen in dark suits, two patrol officers in uniform, and Detective Charles Smythe and Deputy Inspector Seymour Pine arrived at the Stonewall Inn's double doors in New York and announced that they would take the place. But everything didn’t go as planned. This is live material of the people currently rioting at this place.
The police is trying to cope with them but there are more and more people who start to disobey. This might just be the biggest gathering of homosexual people who are standing up for who they are and who don’t want to be treated like this…
* The newsreader continued talking and I saw the transmission in the background but I didn’t pay my attention to it any longer.
I was looking at Brendon and Brendon was looking at me. “What a time to be alive.” The lead singer said as he started laughing. “For real.” I answered as I started to laugh too like a madmen.